ANC gets in gear for 2016 election
The ANC plans to use its January 8 birthday rally in Rustenburg to get a head start in the 2016 local government elections, but it could also face embarrassment, as local party dissidents intend to stage a protest march in the area days before the big gathering. The face of the ANC’s 2016 election campaign, President Jacob Zuma, ended 2015 on a low note for the party after citizens staged marches countrywide calling for his resignation.
Party leaders say they are not shaken by the public outrage against Zuma. Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says that despite the protest marches, the ANC will win the 2016 municipal elections by “an overwhelming victory”.
Dissident ANC members in North West told City Press this week they would stage a protest march against Premier Supra Mahumapelo’s ANC provincial executive on Tuesday, when the ANC national executive committee arrives in the area.
Rustenburg mayor Mpho Khunou said the ANC was aware of the plan. “We anticipate anarchy by people trying to dent the image of the province,” he said.
There are also widespread fears that the majority of the ANC’s regional executive committee in Bojanala, which includes Rustenburg, will resign before the elections next year to ensure the region is placed under the administration of the provincial executive – which is at odds with the regional secretary and head of elections Tokyo Mataboge.
On December 11, a group of ANC councillors, together with the opposition, boycotted a council meeting that had been called to discuss the suspension of municipal manager Bheki Khenisa.
Those sympathetic to Khenisa say he was being targeted because he refused to give tenders to businesspeople linked with senior ANC provincial leaders.
North West ANC secretary Dakota Legoete said the provincial officials were disappointed with the conduct of councillors who walked out of the meeting. “Walking out of a meeting is ill-disciplined,” said Legoete. Khunou declared that, “notwithstanding the challenges in administration, the municipality is stable”.
The removal of Khenisa was also seen as part of a widespread purge of people who did not agree with the ANC provincial executive committee under Mahumapelo.
Several members of the provincial legislature, including former provincial secretary Gordon Kegakilwe – as well as MPLs Hlomane Chauke, Nono Maloyi and Jeanette Dibetso-Nyathi – have resigned or have been requested to do so by the provincial ANC.
The move is viewed by many as Mahumapelo consolidating his power base, but Legoete denied this, saying those affected were being redeployed – and almost all of them to higher-paying posts.
Another matter giving the ANC and the alliance sleepless nights is the possibility of renewed student protests over tuition fees in 2016.
But the ANC does not believe the #FeesMustFall protests were against the party and its leaders.
Labour federation Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the funding of education was among the big issues to be tabled for 2016: “The ANC will have to find a faster way in terms of implementing free and compulsory education beyond Grade 12.”
He said the party needed to implement its policies. “The issue is that we do not see vigorous implementation [by the ANC] of its own policies. They speak of anti-corruption and service delivery, but sometimes it takes the people to be on the streets [in order] to be listened to on something that the ANC may have long agreed on.”
He went on to say that “2016 must be about the implementation of the radical second transformation”.
“The ANC has to be seen to be implementing it. It is only when they do so that people will have more confidence in the party.”
Ntshalintshali added that Cosatu expected Zuma to speak about the introduction of a national minimum wage at the January 8 gathering.
“We are hoping for a strong statement calling for the finalisation of negotiations [so that the matter will be concluded] by the time of the state of the nation address,” he said.
SA Communist Party spokesperson Alex Mashilo said the ANC needed to address the manner in which people in local government were employed. “Those who win conferences reward those who supported them in terms of positions and tenders. People who lose conferences are excluded when opportunities come,” said Mashilo.
This week’s national executive committee meeting to finalise the January 8 statement should also make it clearer whether anyone in the ANC has the appetite to take Zuma to task.
The issue is that we do not see vigorous implementation [by the ANC] of its own policies. They speak of anti-corruption and service delivery, but sometimes it takes the people to be on the streets [in order] to be listened to on something that the ANC may have long agreed on
HE’S WATCHING YOU A helicopter carrying an ANC flag with the face of President Jacob Zuma flies past Durban’s beaches bearing New Year’s greetings and an exhortation for citizens to register to vote in the pending local government elections