Dur­ban’s two ANCs

CityPress - - News - PADDY HARPER paddy.harper@city­press.co.za

Alast-ditch at­tempt by dis­af­fected ANC branches to halt a re­run of the party’s eThek­wini re­gional con­fer­ence with the aid of a high court in­ter­dict failed yes­ter­day when the judge de­clined to in­ter­vene in the dis­pute. The ap­pli­ca­tion for an in­ter­dict by 22 branches aligned to the sit­ting chair­per­son, eThek­wini Mayor James Nx­u­malo, and ousted pro­vin­cial chair­per­son Senzo Mchunu was turned down by Judge Mo­hini Mood­ley. He ruled that the con­fer­ence’s cre­den­tials com­mit­tee could deal with the dis­pute.

The branches, which have also been in­volved in marches to try to over­turn the out­come of the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence, wanted the court to stop it from go­ing ahead un­til the pro­vin­cial dis­pute was re­solved. Mood­ley ruled, how­ever, that the mat­ter was not so ur­gent that the court needed to in­ter­vene.

Um­lazi ANC coun­cil­lor S’then­jwa Nya­wose – who or­gan­ised the cam­paign to chal­lenge both the out­come of the ear­lier pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence and the op­po­si­tion to the eThek­wini con­fer­ence – had brought the ap­pli­ca­tion on be­half of the branches that ar­gued that the prepa­ra­tion process for the con­fer­ence was flawed.

They claimed that us­ing the ANC Youth League pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship to con­vene branch gen­eral meet­ings was un­law­ful, as ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe had or­dered the prov­ince to stop do­ing so in Oc­to­ber.

The con­fer­ence has been post­poned sev­eral times, with one out­come – which favoured Nx­u­malo – be­ing over­turned af­ter chal­lenges to the process, as three branches par­tic­i­pated with­out be­ing au­dited.

By late yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, the dis­af­fected branches had de­cided to boy­cott the con­fer­ence, say­ing they could not con­tinue with pro­cesses in which branches were “stolen” dur­ing branch gen­eral meet­ings, and del­e­gates who were not qual­i­fied to at­tend had been in­cluded.

They were also meet­ing to plan what ac­tion to take next, and were plan­ning to march on the con­fer­ence venue. Nx­u­malo was nowhere to be seen and branches loyal to him had de­cided not to par­tic­i­pate.

“We are not sat­is­fied with the de­ci­sion taken by the judge. We be­lieve the pre­sen­ta­tion by the ANC chair­per­son [Sihle Zikalala] was in­ac­cu­rate and the de­ci­sion made on that ba­sis was flawed,” said Nya­wose. “This is not over.” When the con­fer­ence kicked off five hours af­ter the of­fi­cial 9am start­ing time, pro­vin­cial chair­per­son Zikalala told the gath­er­ing some peo­ple were start­ing to view the ANC neg­a­tively due to in­fight­ing.

“Others have lost hope in us and the or­gan­i­sa­tion as, at times, we have pro­jected a pic­ture of an or­gan­i­sa­tion at war with it­self and [one] that has be­come a ve­hi­cle for the en­rich­ment of its lead­ers,” he said. He added that the pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship took full re­spon­si­bil­ity for the run­ning of the con­fer­ence, whose re­sult had been set aside by the na­tional lead­er­ship.

“Some of these were our own mis­takes. Per­haps it would have been bet­ter if we had post­poned the first con­fer­ence. We are deal­ing with an or­gan­i­sa­tion that has seen a se­ri­ous lack of unity. That lack of unity has de­ter­mined how de­ci­sions are taken,” he said.

Zikalala said the party needed to look at its di­vi­sions, and that the rules needed to be fol­lowed closely when run­ning con­fer­ences and other ANC ac­tiv­i­ties.

“This con­fer­ence is tak­ing place af­ter we have ex­pe­ri­enced an in­ter­dict try­ing to stop it con­ven­ing for the first time. Their in­ter­dict was dis­missed with costs,” he said.

“This does not end there. We ... have been given a plat­form to con­sider re­build­ing the ANC. It is not ac­cepted that peo­ple will in­sult the ANC lead­er­ship ... march to the ANC of­fice [and] take the ANC to court,” said Zikalala.

He added that the ANC in the prov­ince had been “over­shad­owed” by fac­tion­al­ism, with two ANCs ex­ist­ing in the prov­ince and the re­gion.

“If there is some­body who is not at the con­fer­ence be­cause of fac­tion­al­ism, we should not be cel­e­brat­ing,” he said. “We have more re­spon­si­bil­ity be­cause we are in this con­fer­ence. This ANC needs all of us. We are go­ing to lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions. Are we go­ing to win elec­tions, di­vided as we are?” he asked.

In the first pub­lic in­di­ca­tion that the prov­ince would back Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or Zweli Mkhize as the next ANC pres­i­dent in­stead of deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, Zikalala said the prov­ince’s ANC never com­plained about Nel­son Man­dela and Thabo Mbeki both com­ing from the Eastern Cape.

“The lead­er­ship of the ANC is not go­ing to be de­ter­mined by where a per­son comes from. We will dis­cuss this at the cor­rect time,” he said.

PHOTO: TEBOGO LET­SIE

CAR­RY­ING ON RE­GARD­LESS

Joe Phaahla, Pule Mabe, Su­per Zuma, Thami Ngubane and Sihle Zikalala at the ANC pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence yes­ter­day

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