Office of the Chief Whip
The ANC Parliamentary Caucus
In terms of Rule 5 of the ANC Constitution, it is the duty of ANC members who hold elective office in any sphere of government to be members of the appropriate caucus, to function within its rules and to abide by its decisions under the general provisions of the Constitution and the constitutional structures of the ANC.
The sum total of ANC members of Parliament, including the President of the ANC, Ministers and Deputy Ministers constitute the ANC Caucus in Parliament. The Members of the ANC Caucus at all levels of their deployment, derive their broad mandates from Caucus. At all material times such mandates will be consistent with resolutions of the ANC constitutional structures. The Caucus is a very important structure and attendance of its meetings is compulsory to all ANC public representatives.
The ANC Caucus consists of all ANC Members of Parliament - in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
The principal tasks of caucuses of political parties are to keep MPs of each political formation informed about the parliamentary programme and to enable the MPs to discuss and agree on the approach of their parties to all matters on the parliamentary agenda. They also serve as the organ within which those elected by Caucus to parliamentary positions account to the organisation as well as serving as institutions that ensures the accountability of members of Caucus. Caucuses also serve as the point of contact between the MPs and the leadership of the organisation to which they belong. Caucuses manage the work of the study groups, which play the role of portfolio committee caucuses, and are therefore sub-structures of the national Caucus. As stated above Committee and Study Group chairs report to Caucus through the Chief Whip. The ANC Caucus carries out the above functions under the supervision of the Political Committee.
After the democratic breakthrough of 1994, and the overwhelming electoral victory of the African National Congress in those first historic elections, the contingent of ANC deployees to Parliament, i.e. the National Assembly and the Senate (later NCOP), were constituted into what was called the ANC Caucus in Parliament.
The terminology "caucus" was not derived from ANC organisational experience or culture, but was taken from a terminology and parliamentary practice that the ANC found amongst the remnants of the apartheid Parliament. Likewise, concepts such as "study group", "whippery" and others were found to exist in Parliament and had to be given new content. Many debates ensued regarding the nature of the ANC Caucus and its relationship to the structures recognised by the ANC Constitution and what recognition, if any, should be given to caucuses in the ANC Constitution.
The weekly meetings of the ANC Caucus are a mechanism, amongst many others (such as study groups, political schools, workshops etc), to ensure that this collective can discuss and co-ordinate its work. Viewed from this perspective, weekly Caucus meetings are a part of the day-to-day political management tasks of the Office of the Chief Whip.
African National Congress Parliamentary Caucus