In an unprecedented move, the ANC will on Monday hold a late-afternoon press briefing to announce the outcomes of a special three-day NEC meeting in Pretoria.
Under normal circumstances, the party holds such press briefing on Tuesdays, but with the stakes so high, the governing party has moved the press conference closer.
Insiders believe that the move was informed by fears that by Tuesday, more details would have been leaked to the media by various factions seeking to be portrayed in a positive light.
This weekend’s meeting was no ordinary meeting of the ruling party, which has over the years battled corruption allegations and factionalism.
A few days before the meeting sat, President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote a letter to members and told them that the party was accused number one, faced with allegations of corruption.
Ramaphosa was referring to the fact that some of the ANC’s senior leaders at the national level and various provinces have been caught allegedly dipping their hands in the Covid-19 cookie jar.
That brought shame to the party and some senior members, like Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, who had to take leave of absence after her husband’s company scored dubious Covid-19 tenders from the Gauteng department of health.
From there, more revelations came to the public fore and the party was forced to act and its secretary-general, Ace Magashule, asked its structures to compile a list of members having court cases and facing probes.
Political analysts saw that as an opening that would be exploited by all factions.
One independent political analyst, Thabani Khumalo, said the moment you talk about corruption in the ANC, you divide the party as both factions will point out alleged corruption acts against each other.
Heading to the meeting on Friday, Andile Lungisa, a senior party member from the Eastern Cape wrote to Magashule and asked him to lead a process to force Ramaphosa to face the music over the CR17 campaign fund which raked in over R1bn before the 2017 elective conference in Nasrec.
Ramaphosa’s critics said he used the fund “to buy votes”. He denies the charge.
Then on Friday, former ANC president Jacob Zuma wrote a letter of his own, where he criticised Ramaphosa for his stance on supposedly accusing all party members of being corrupt.
Zuma said the president was trying to save his own skin and to please the ’white’ sections of the country which he claimed, he was fond of and were fond of him.
Zuma also said Ramaphosa should come clean on his companies that did business with the state.
Zuma’s letter divided the country as others said it was uncalled for while others said he was within his right to do so as a party member.
Other analysts saw this as an attempt to corner Ramaphosa ahead of the meeting and indeed when the meeting started, Tony Yengeni, an outspoken NEC member who is critical of Ramaphosa, called him to lead by example and step aside since his name was implicated in the CR17 campaign funds.
Ramaphosa responded by volunteering to appear before the ANC’s Integrity Committee to explain himself in relation with the controversial CR17 campaign funds.
However, that did little as more of his critics baying for his head, with Ekurhuleni mayor and regional chairperson, Mzwandile Masina also calling for Ramaphosa to step aside by taking part in a one man picket.
It now looks like a done deal that all those with pending charges would eventually step aside (take paid absence of leave).
Former minister Bongani Bongo was the latest of Monday to announce that he was going to step aside from his role as a committee chairperson in Parliament.
Bongo joins the likes of Zandile Gumede, Mike Mabuyakhulu, Khusela Diko, Bandile Masuku, and his wife, Loyiso, who have stepped aside – on full pay – pending their appearances before the ANC’s Integrity Committee.