NEWS & ANALYSIS

Niehaus granted leave of absence from ANC - NWC

Statement of the national working committee, February 17 2009

STATEMENT OF THE ANC NATIONAL WORKING COMMITTEE FEBRUARY 17 2009

The ANC National Working Committee held one of its regular fortnightly meetings in Johannesburg yesterday (16 February 2009).

The NWC reviewed the progress of the ANC's 2009 election campaign, and was encouraged by the enthusiastic response the organisation has received across the country. People are turning out in record numbers at ANC events across the country. The people have clearly embraced the message that while we have achieved much in the last 15 years, by working together we can do even more.

The meeting extended a word of gratitude to former President Nelson Mandela for his appearance at a rally in Idutywa in the Eastern Cape on Sunday. The ANC appreciates the fact that, though he has retired from public life, he made the effort to reaffirm his confidence in the movement.

So that more people in South Africa and around the world can listen to Mandela's message, video coverage of the rally is now available on YouTube (www.youtube.com/elections2009) and through the ANC's interactive elections website (www.myanc.org).

The NWC also received a report on the final voter registration weekend. It was encouraged by the better than expected number of new registrations. It congratulated all those who went to voting stations over the weekend to register or to check their registration details.

The meeting received a report on the meeting on Friday 13 February between ANC President Jacob Zuma and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) President Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The NWC welcomed the meeting and endorsed the message that came out of the meeting, which urged tolerance and peace throughout the election period and beyond. The ANC is committed to working with the IFP and all other parties to ensure that the election is free, fair and peaceful.

The ANC endorses the efforts of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to actively promote tolerance and free political activity in all parts of the country. It calls on the police and security services to act consistently to ensure that breaches of the electoral law are swiftly dealt with.

The meeting received a report on a visit by ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe to Moutse on Saturday. An incorrect impression had been created in the media - and within the Moutse community - that Mantashe was scheduled to address a rally in the area. The ANC wishes to place on record that at no stage were arrangements made to address the rally. He was there to meet with leadership structures. Ten submissions were received. The process will continue when Mantashe again visits the area on Thursday (19 February 2009). A mass rally will be held at the end of the process.

The NWC discussed recent statements by ANC President Julius Malema that were considered to be in breach of the norms and values of the ANC. The NWC agreed that discussions between the ANC and the Youth League leadership should be ongoing.

The NWC considered media reports on the personal financial situation of Carl Niehaus. Niehaus has been granted a leave of absence from the ANC to enable him to resolve his personal financial matters. The ANC will continue to assist Niehaus to rebuild his life.

The ANC is committed to good governance and remains determined to stamp out all forms of corruption. Any allegations of criminal conduct should be dealt with in terms of the law and due legal process.

The NWC called on all ANC members and supporters to spare no effort in mobilising all 23 million registered voters to go to the polls on 22 April 2009, and to vote to speed up the process of improving the lives of all South Africans.

Statement issued by Jessie Duarte, African National Congress spokesperson, February 17 2009