In an attempt to have more representation of minorities on its national executive committee (NEC), the African National Congress (ANC) has co-opted four people into its 87-member highest decision-making body in between conferences.
The four are SA National AIDS Council chairperson Steve Mapaseka Letsike, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Alvin Botes, President Cyril Ramaphosa's parliamentary counsellor, Gerhard Koornhof, and former eThekwini mayor Fawzia Peer.
While some celebrated when the ANC achieved gender parity after electing its top seven officials in December, some lamented that the ANC was no longer representative of the country's demographics as all seven members were black.
The ANC's alliance partners also called on the party to co-opt people from minority races to demonstrate that it still embraced the ideas of a rainbow nation. The NEC, which may co-opt up to five people, has elected to appoint four members.
Botes, who did not make it onto the 80-member NEC list, appeared to be one of the biggest winners as he was co-opted into the NEC, possibly signalling that he might retain his position in the executive.
When she was acting eThekwini mayor in 2019, Peer was rushed to hospital after a suspected case of poisoning. At the time, she complained about a burning sensation in her mouth and throat after drinking bottled water, which she described as smelling like paraffin.
Peer was acting mayor after Zandile Gumede was forced to take 30 days' leave following her arrest on corruption charges.
Letsike, who is affectionately known as "Steve", is a gender activist who strongly advocates for the rights of members of the LGBTQI+ community.
Koornhof first became an MP in 2004. During the fifth administration, from 2014 to 2019, he served as a parliamentary counsellor when Ramaphosa was deputy president, a position he still occupies.