National Executive Committee of the African National Congress

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) is the party's chief executive organ. It is elected every five years at the party’s national conference; the executive committee, in turn, elects a National Working Committee for day-to-day decision-making responsibilities.[1] At the NEC's head is the president of the ANC, and it also contains the other so-called "Top Seven" leaders (formerly "Top Six"): the deputy president, chairperson, secretary-general, two deputy secretaries-general and treasurer-general.

National Executive Committee of the African National Congress
Type
Type
Executive organ of the African National Congress
Leadership
Deputy President
Chairperson
Secretary-General
1st Deputy Secretary-General
2nd Deputy Secretary-General
Treasurer-General
Structure
Seats87
Committees
  • National Working Committee
  • National List Committee
  • Revolutionary Council (1969–83)
  • Politico-Military Council (1983–90)
Length of term
5 years
Elections
Last election
55th National Conference
Website
anc1912.org.za/nec

CompositionEdit

Members of the NEC must have been paid-up members of the ANC for at least five years prior to nomination, and at least half must be women.[2] The NEC consists of:[2]

The size of the elected NEC was increased to 56 members (including the Top Six) at the 48th National Conference in 1991, and then to 66 members (including the Top Six) at the 49th National Conference in 1994 – during apartheid, the NEC had been smaller and of a less consistent size, sometimes dropping below ten members.[3] It was enlarged again, to 86 members, at the 52nd National Conference in 2007, which also introduced the gender parity requirement, and further enlarged again to its current size of 87 members at the 55th National Conference with the introduction of a 2nd Deputy Secretary-General.[4][5][6] Another significant change has been the extension of the term of the NEC from three years to five years, following the resolution of the 1997 50th National Conference to reduce the frequency of national conferences to twice a decade.[7]

Election processEdit

 
President Cyril Ramaphosa has been a member of the National Executive Committee for 30 years

Until 1985, members of the NEC were not appointed by election, but rather were appointed and seconded on a much more ad hoc basis, at the discretion of the leadership.[3] In recent years, however, members of the NEC are elected by secret ballot at the ANC's national conference under clear rules. The Top Seven is elected separately, usually before the election of the rest of the NEC.

NominationsEdit

Nominations for the NEC and Top Seven emanate from the local branch level. In the run-up to a National Conference, every ANC branch in good standing holds a branch nomination meeting, at which, provided it is quorate, it may nominate one individual for each of the "Top Seven" leadership positions and up to 20 individuals for the other 80 NEC positions. Nominees must receive the support of 50% + 1 members present at the meeting, and at least half of the NEC nominees must be women – if necessary, the names of the lowest ranked male candidates must be removed until gender parity is achieved. The official branch nominations are consolidated at a provincial general council meeting, and the 250 nominees who received the most nominations become the provincial nominees for the NEC. Gender parity remains a condition at the provincial level, and women nominees are upgraded on the list if necessary to meet it. The individuals who received the most nominations for the Top Seven positions become the provincial nominees for those positions.[8][9]

At the National Conference, the lists of provincial nominees are consolidated, along with the lists of nominees from the leagues, which hold nomination conferences in the same way as the provinces. The availability of nominees to stand in the elections is confirmed, and all voting delegates are also allowed to propose additional nominations from the floor at the conference, although such proposals only succeed if 25% of delegates support them.[1]

CampaigningEdit

Although since 1994 the election of the NEC has often been preceded by considerable political manoeuvring, the ANC has a long history of valuing democratic centralism and collective leadership, and overt campaigning for internal leadership positions is frowned upon.[10][11] This attitude is encapsulated, and promoted, in a discussion paper adopted by the National Working Committee in 2001 and reviewed in 2021,[12] titled Through the Eye of a Needle?: Choosing the Best Cadres to Lead Transformation. The paper warns that "electoral processes" should not "tear the movement apart," and that

it is a matter of profound cultural practice within the ANC that individuals do not promote or canvass for themselves. Historically, this has justifiably been frowned upon as being in bad revolutionary taste.[13]

Subcommittees in exileEdit

Revolutionary CouncilEdit

In 1969, while based primarily in Tanzania, the NEC established the Revolutionary Council, which focused on both political and military aspects of the internal anti-apartheid struggle.[3] Notably, the Revolutionary Council included several leaders of the ANC's military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) – this in a period in which the NEC was limited to blacks ("Africans") only, while MK leadership (and thus the council) included several whites, Indians, and coloureds, especially from the Communist Party. Although it was located under the NEC, the council had considerable power.[11] From around 1976, it was responsible for two subordinate structures: the Internal Political Reconstruction Committee, focused on the South African political underground and internal propaganda, and MK Central Operations HQ, focused on internal armed struggle.[3]

The Revolutionary Council was chaired by ANC president Oliver Tambo throughout its lifespan, and other members included (with approximate dates):

From around 1976, there was also a Revolutionary Council structure in London, chaired by Yusuf Dadoo and including Jack Hodgson, Ronnie Kasrils, Aziz Pahad, Reg September, and Solly Smith.[3]

Politico-Military CouncilEdit

In 1983, the Revolutionary Council was replaced by the Politico-Military Council (PMC), which became "the executive arm of the NEC in relation to all matters pertaining to the conduct of the political and military struggle inside South Africa."[3] This followed a meeting of all commanders and commissars in Luanda, at which concerns included the intensification of internal struggle and co-ordination between the military and political aspects of struggle, with greater political control envisaged over MK activities and strategy.[11] The full PMC met monthly, while its executive committee or "secretariat" met weekly.[3]

The 1983 restructuring also led to the establishment of other bodies under the NEC. At least two of these, the Political HQ (replaced by the expanded Internal Political Committee in 1987) and the Military HQ, fell under the ambit of the PMC and were represented in the PMC. ANC intelligence structures were also represented, and the PMC was responsible for coordinating the activities of these three wings.[3] The PMC, like many other ANC structures, was dissolved before 1991 during the transition to democracy in South Africa, which brought the unbanning and return from exile of the ANC, as well as the de-escalation of MK activities.

Like the Revolutionary Council, the PMC was chaired by Tambo. Members included:

The London-based PMC was led by Aziz Pahad and Wally Serote.[3]

Current subcommitteesEdit

National Working CommitteeEdit

Soon after each national conference, the newly constituted NEC appoints – at least in recent years, by election[14] – a smaller National Working Committee (NWC), which implements NEC decisions and oversees the daily business of the ANC, including in the provincial branches and in Parliament. Some members are appointed full-time and have specific party responsibilities, while others hold other political offices. The NWC consists of:[15]

  • The Top Seven;
  • Additional members, not exceeding one-quarter of the directly elected NEC (around twenty members); and
  • Three ex officio members, comprising one representative appointed by each of the ANC Women's League, ANC Youth League, and ANC Veterans' League.

As in other ANC structures, at least half of the members must be women. Other ANC members may also be invited to attend or participate as non-voting members.[15]

Current membersEdit

The current NWC was elected on 17 January 2018, following the NEC's first meeting after the 54th National Conference. It will serve until December 2022. In addition to the Top Six, the members are:[15][14]

This NWC was described as including more allies of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa than previous NWCs,[14] and about half of the elected members served as ministers in Ramaphosa's cabinet.

National List CommitteeEdit

The National List Committee reports to, and is appointed annually by, the NEC. It is responsible for the selection of ANC candidates for the national Parliament, and it also oversees and regulates the provincial selection processes.[2] The committee was established following amendments to the ANC constitution by the 50th National Conference in 1997, prior to which the parliamentary selection process had been less centralised.[16]

Other subcommitteesEdit

The NEC is responsible for several other subcommittees, which are primarily staffed by NEC members and whose composition is agreed by the NEC early in its term. Important is the national Deployment Committee (chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza),[17] which was established in 1998 to implement resolutions of the 50th National Conference which endorsed a policy of ANC cadre deployment in the public service and "key centres of power."[18][19] Other NEC subcommittees include the Economic Transformation Committee (chaired by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana), the Elections Committee (chaired by Fikile Mbalula), a National Disciplinary Committee of Appeal (chaired by Nomvula Mokonyane), and over a dozen others.[17]

Current membershipEdit

Membership in exileEdit

National Executive Committee 1963–1969Edit

In 1960, the ANC was banned in South Africa, and much of its leadership had been arrested, especially during the Treason Trial and later the Rivonia Trial. The ANC therefore set about re-establishing command structures in exile, from a new base in Tanzania.[3]

 
Albert Luthuli was ANC President from 1952 until his death in 1967

Leadership

Members

National Executive Committee 1969–1976Edit

The NEC was appointed during the 1969 conference in Morogoro, Tanzania, the ANC's first in exile. The NEC was not elected by the party's membership and, as indicated below, it co-opted additional members after 1969 "as the leadership saw fit."[3]

Leadership

Members

National Executive Committee 1976–1985Edit

 
Oliver Tambo, President of the ANC-in-exile 1967–91

The NEC continued to be appointed without elections over this period, and its composition changed very little.[3]

Leadership

Members

National Executive Committee 1985–1991Edit

The NEC was elected in May 1985 in Kabwe, Zambia, and was the ANC's first fully elected NEC. In 1990, the ANC was unbanned and held a national consultative conference in Johannesburg – the first official meeting between exiles, underground members, and formerly imprisoned members – at which leaders who had not attended the Kabwe conference reaffirmed the composition of the NEC as elected at Kabwe.[3]

Leadership

Members

Membership after 1990Edit

National Executive Committee 1991–1994Edit

 
Nelson Mandela was the first ANC president to serve in government

The NEC was elected at the ANC's 48th National Conference in Durban in July 1991. Nelson Mandela was elected ANC president, replacing Oliver Tambo, who had suffered a stroke in 1989 and stepped down after 24 years as president.[3] As indicated below, the NEC voted to co-opt five additional members after 1991, in order to fill vacancies arising from deaths and resignations.[20]

Leadership

Members

* Members of the National Working Committee[20]

National Executive Committee 1994–1997Edit

The NEC was elected at the ANC's 49th National Conference in Bloemfontein in December 1994. Well represented are former Robben Island prisoners, as well as trade unionists and other former leaders of internal anti-apartheid structures, such as the United Democratic Front, who joined the ANC following its unbanning and return to South Africa.[21] Four additional unelected members were coopted onto the NEC after 1994, to fill vacancies arising from resignations and deaths.[22]

Leadership

Elected members

* Members of the National Working Committee[22]

Ex officio members

National Executive Committee 1997–2002Edit

 
Thabo Mbeki, ANC President 1997–2007

At the ANC's 50th National Conference in Mafikeng in December 1997, Thabo Mbeki was elected Mandela's successor as ANC president. After 1997, as indicated below, eleven additional members were co-opted onto the NEC. Five were co-opted in February 1998, soon after the conference, and the other six were co-opted later to fill vacancies arising from resignations and deaths.[23]

Leadership

Elected members

* Members of the National Working Committee[23]

Ex officio members

Observers

National Executive Committee 2002–2007Edit

The NEC was elected at the ANC's 51st National Conference in Stellenbosch in 2002.[24] The conference effected no change to the senior leadership of the party, except in the position of Deputy Secretary-General. Two additional members were co-opted into the NEC to fill vacancies which arose after 2002 when three members died and one resigned.[25]

Leadership

Elected members

* Members of the National Working Committee[25]

Ex officio members

National Executive Committee 2007–2012Edit

 
Jacob Zuma, ANC President 2007–2017

The NEC was elected at the ANC's 52nd National Conference in Polokwane in December 2007. Incumbent ANC and national president Thabo Mbeki was defeated by Jacob Zuma in the vote for the Presidency.[26][27] After 2007, three members died and six resigned (two to defect to the newly founded Congress of the People); only three of those vacancies were filled by co-opting replacements.[28]

Leadership

Elected members

* Members of the National Working Committee[28]

Ex officio members

National Executive Committee 2012–2017Edit

The NEC was elected at the ANC's 53rd National Conference in Mangaung in December 2012, and Jacob Zuma was elected ANC president for a second term.[29] Four members were co-opted onto the NEC after 2012 to fill vacancies arising from deaths.[30]

Leadership

Elected members

* Members of the National Working Committee[30]

Ex officio members

National Executive Committee 2017–2022Edit

In December 2017, the 54th National Conference, held at Nasrec, elected ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed Jacob Zuma as ANC president. It also elected a new NEC.[31] In October 2019, four additional members were co-opted onto the committee.[32]

Leadership

Elected members

Ex-officio members

[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b African National Congress Constitution, as amended and adopted by the 54th National Conference (PDF). Johannesburg: ANC. 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "NEC". ANC. Retrieved 4 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n African National Congress (1997). "Appendix: ANC structures and personnel". Further submissions and responses by the African National Congress to questions raised by the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation. Pretoria: Department of Justice.
  4. ^ "Winnie tops ANC's NEC list". News24. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "ANC Constitution, as amended and adopted by the 52nd National Conference, Polokwane". ANC. 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Mavuso, Sihle. "ANC introduces Top Seven at 55th National Conference to replace Top Six". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  7. ^ Munusamy, Ranjeni (7 September 2014). "The road to perdition: How the ANC lost its way, one conference at a time". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  8. ^ Claasen, Lance (14 December 2017). "Inside the ANC election process". EWN. Retrieved 10 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ NEC Nominations Process (PDF).
  10. ^ Lodge, Tom (2004). "The ANC and the Development of Party Politics in Modern South Africa". The Journal of Modern African Studies. 42 (2): 189–219. doi:10.1017/S0022278X04000096. ISSN 0022-278X. JSTOR 3876224. S2CID 153480701.
  11. ^ a b c Ellis, Stephen (2013). External Mission: The ANC in Exile, 1960-1990. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-933061-4.
  12. ^ Nyathi, Mandisa (22 November 2020). "ANC reviews its moral policy, Through the Eye of a Needle". Citypress. Retrieved 10 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ Through the Eye of a Needle?: Choosing the Best Cadres to Lead Transformation (PDF). Johannesburg: African National Congress.
  14. ^ a b c "ANC elects new national working committee". The Mail & Guardian. 20 January 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  15. ^ a b c "NWC". ANC. Retrieved 13 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ Lodge, Tom (1998). "The ANC's 50th Conference: A House of Many Mansions?". Southern Africa Report. 13 (2). Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.
  17. ^ a b "NEC subcommittees". ANC. Retrieved 13 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "50th National Conference: Resolutions – Building the ANC". ANC. Retrieved 10 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ Booysen, Susan (2011). "State institutions as sites of struggle in ANC war". The African National Congress and the Regeneration of Political Power. Wits University Press. ISBN 978-1-77614-166-1.
  20. ^ a b "Report of the Secretary-General". ANC. 1994. Archived from the original on 24 May 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  21. ^ "49th National Conference: National Executive Committee as elected at Conference". ANC. Retrieved 4 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ a b "50th National Conference: Report of the Secretary General". ANC. 17 December 1997. Archived from the original on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  23. ^ a b "51st National Conference: Report of the Secretary General". ANC. Retrieved 4 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ "51st National Conference: National Executive Committee as elected". ANC. Retrieved 4 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ a b "52nd National Conference: Organisational Report". ANC. Retrieved 4 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. ^ "52nd National Conference: National Executive Committee as elected". ANC. Retrieved 4 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ "ANC National Executive Committee". ANC. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  28. ^ a b "Organisational Report to the 53rd National Conference" (PDF). ANC. 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ "ANC National Executive Committee Members". ANC. Retrieved 4 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ a b "Organisational Report to the 54th National Conference" (PDF). ANC. 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ "The full list of ANC NEC members". EWN. 21 December 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2022.
  32. ^ Feketha, Siviwe (2 October 2019). "Blade Nzimande returns to ANC NEC". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 8 January 2023.

External linksEdit