CAPE TOWN: The African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu praised his party’s work at the half-way mark of the legislative year.
The National Assembly goes into recess from Friday, and only returns in mid-August, between three and four weeks later than usual. The Chief Whip said the extended break was to move “closer to a 50-50 split” between time spent with constituencies and in Parliament.
He admitted that the extended break will likely not be the norm in other years, adding fuel that the decision had one eye on the looming 2019 general elections. Mthembu also praised the passing of 13 bills since February, including the national minimum wage bill.
He also praised the new President Cyril Ramaphosa since his election in February, saying that he has “done well” so far.
“He has promised to deal with any matters that smack of corruption. And from where we are seated, we think he has delivered on that promise.
“We are seeing some state-owned-entities where there were indications of wrongdoing, and not only Eskom, where new boards, CEOs and COOs are being installed,” Mthembu said.
“This is indeed a step in the right direction.”
‘No divisions in ANC caucus’
Speaking of his own caucus, Mthembu admitted that they had some problems prior to Ramaphosa’s election in February. Tensions have quietened though since then, with Mthembu even claiming there were “no divisions in caucus” in the first place.
“The election of a new leadership has not necessarily improved any divisions that were not there. Yes, I would agree with you that there were incidents of ill-discipline, but those have been resolved,” he said.
He did not want to go into detail on which incidents he meant when pressed by journalists. He conceded that some of the members stepped “way out of line”.
Some of the incidents included five ANC MPs demanding former portfolio committee chairperson Makhosi Khoza be removed from her position during a meeting; another five appearing on ANN7 to slam one of Mthembu’s decisions, and accusations of misconduct and assault against a handful of male MPs, including Mduduzi Manana and Mervyn Dirks.