List wars weaken the ANC

Gov­ern­ing party caught off guard by bit­ter mem­bers coun­try­wide who are threat­en­ing chaos

CityPress - - Front Page - S’THEMBILE CELE, SETUMO STONE, PADDY HARPER, LUBABALO NGCUKANA and ANDISIWE MAKINANA news@city­press.co.za

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma has sought to quell un­prece­dented protests over the ANC’s can­di­dates’ list by call­ing for dis­ci­pline among mem­bers. How­ever, while ad­dress­ing thou­sands of sup­port­ers at the FNB Sta­dium in Soweto yesterday, Zuma tried to down­play the pub­lic sham­bles by say­ing the clashes showed “democ­racy at work”.

Chaos erupted ear­lier this week par­tic­u­larly in Gaut­eng, the Eastern Cape, KwaZu­luNatal and North West, where some pop­u­lar ANC mem­bers reg­is­tered as in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates – which could see these mem­bers cam­paign­ing against the party.

The ANC had an­tic­i­pated that, fol­low­ing the con­clu­sion of its na­tional list con­fer­ence last week, con­tests for po­si­tions would sub­side and mem­bers would turn their fo­cus to­wards an elec­tion vic­tory.

But thou­sands of angry ANC mem­bers this week took their frus­tra­tions to the doors of Luthuli House, while in KwaZulu-Natal vi­o­lence con­tin­ued un­abated af­ter three ANC lead­ers were gunned down.

Post the 2011 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions, a probe by African Union Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma re­vealed that up to 125 ANC coun­cil­lors had been fraud­u­lently nom­i­nated, re­sult­ing in by-elec­tions in cases where her re­port’s rec­om­men­da­tions were im­ple­mented.

The Dlamini-Zuma com­mis­sion was sup­posed to iden­tify and rec­tify prob­lems in the coun­cil­lor-se­lec­tion process so that they could be avoided in 2016. In some ar­eas, mem­bers of the SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP) have threat­ened to with­draw from elec­tion cam­paigns in ar­eas where can­di­dates have been “im­posed” on com­mu­ni­ties. ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe was star­tled this week, as it emerged that “The Com­mu­nist Party” was con­test­ing elec­tions in five mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the Eastern Cape – rais­ing con­cerns that the peo­ple in­volved could be SACP mem­bers. The SACP, how­ever, has dis­tanced it­self from this. An al­liance in­sider told City Press this week they ex­pected the sit­u­a­tion to worsen since the fi­nal list of names had al­ready been submitted to the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC). “Since they would not be able to stand as in­de­pen­dents, be­cause the process is closed, peo­ple will cause havoc. They will protest and boy­cott elec­tions,” he said. Man­tashe said they were see­ing the “strange de­vel­op­ment” of peo­ple who were will­ing to go to war to be­come a coun­cil­lor.

ANC West­ern Cape

How five prov­inces are af­fected by the con­flict:

KWAZULU-NATAL

The SACP’s Dur­ban re­gion, where sup­port­ers of pro­vin­cial chair­per­son Sihle Zikalala’s slate at last Novem­ber’s pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence have been well re­warded on the list, this week threat­ened to aban­don the ANC cam­paign over what it called “fraud­u­lent” can­di­dates be­ing im­posed on ANC branches.

The list process in eThek­wini has been a hotly con­tested one, with branches tak­ing to the streets over can­di­dates they chose be­ing dumped by the pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship and taken off the list.

As many as 10 would-be ANC can­di­dates, many of them sup­port­ers of now-de­posed premier Senzo Mchunu, have in­di­cated they will stand as in­de­pen­dents come Au­gust 3.

The eThek­wini list is dom­i­nated by back­ers of Zikalala, in­clud­ing may­oral can­di­date and re­gional ANC chair­per­son Zandile Gumede.

“There has been a clean-out of James [mayor James Nx­u­malo] sup­port­ers,” said one ANC coun­cil­lor who made the list. “They are not com­ing back.” The source said the ANC list for the metro con­tained 36 new names.

The SACP also wanted a proper investigation into the fresh wave of po­lit­i­cal killings, which this week height­ened ten­sions, say­ing the “masters” be­hind three ap­par­ent as­sas­si­na­tions needed to be un­masked.

On Thurs­day, Nathi Hlongwa, an ANC branch chair­per­son from Eden­dale out­side Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, was shot and killed on his way home from an ANC meet­ing. Two days be­fore, Mooi-Mpo­fana mu­nic­i­pal­ity chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Simo Mncwabe – who had re­signed from his post the day be­fore af­ter re­ceiv­ing death threats – was gunned down.

Both Mncwabe and Hlongwa were mem­bers of the same ANC branch in Ward 12. On Mon­day, an­other ANC mem­ber, Du­misani Makhathini, who was a lo­cal-level SACP leader, had been shot and killed at In­changa, where Nx­u­malo lives.

GAUT­ENG

Even as the clock struck 5pm on Thurs­day, dis­grun­tled ANC mem­bers stayed put out­side Luthuli House and mem­bers of the SA Po­lice Ser­vice tac­ti­cal re­sponse team stood ready on ei­ther side of the crowd.

A Katle­hong res­i­dent in Gaut­eng told City Press they had come to Luthuli House “to de­fend our rev­o­lu­tion”.

“We might die for this, but it is okay be­cause we will have died for the ANC, which we love,” said Thoko Xaba (64), a res­i­dent of Katle­hong’s Ward 60.

Xaba and a group of her com­pan­ions said their griev­ances had been un­fairly dis­missed by the Ekurhu­leni and Gaut­eng ANC lead­ers. “We want the ANC to solve our prob­lems be­fore we go to elec­tions, be­cause, as things stand, there is no IEC that will come and set up vot­ing sta­tions here; we won’t al­low that,” said an adamant Xaba.

Some of the angry mem­bers had made their way into the foyer of Luthuli House, where po­lice stood watch.

Res­i­dents of the hotly con­tested Tsh­wane and Katle­hong ar­eas showed City Press a se­ries of let­ters urg­ing the re­gion and prov­ince to in­ter­vene and at­tend to their griev­ances.

EASTERN CAPE

The Eastern Cape ANC was this week livid af­ter one of its coun­cil­lors in a strate­gic ward at the hotly con­tested Nel­son Man­dela metro reg­is­tered as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date.

Mbon­geni Bun­gane, a veteran coun­cil­lor of Ward 41, one of the big­gest in the Port El­iz­a­beth metro, will con­test as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date against his for­mer party.

This forced the hand of the gov­ern­ing party, which had promised to fire such peo­ple. It sent in na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers such as deputy sec­re­tary-gen­eral Jessie Duarte and spokesper­son Zizi Kodwa this week­end.

Mlibo Qo­boshiyane, the pro­vin­cial spokesper­son, con­firmed to City Press on Fri­day that the party was aware of Bun­gane’s de­ci­sion to reg­is­ter of­fi­cially as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date.

“This is what we call a silly sea­son. We un­der­stand that peo­ple are now test­ing their choices and op­tions. But we are not go­ing to be de­terred by those things,” he said.

On Tues­day, angry protesters un­happy that their pre­ferred can­di­dates were ex­cluded from the coun­cil­lors’ list blocked buses from leav­ing party head­quar­ters in Port El­iz­a­beth to East Lon­don, where can­di­dates were to be vet­ted be­fore their names could be submitted to the IEC.

WEST­ERN CAPE

On Fri­day, the West­ern Cape ANC post­poned the pro­vin­cial launch of its man­i­festo, which was sched­uled for to­day and was go­ing to be ad­dressed by party deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

Pro­vin­cial spokesper­son Jabu Mfusi told City Press the prov­ince’s top of­fi­cials took the de­ci­sion to post­pone on Fri­day morn­ing, as some of the ANC mem­bers con­tin­ued to protest out­side the pro­vin­cial head­quar­ters in Cape Town.

Mfusi said the party could not go ahead with a man­i­festo launch when a num­ber of branches were still ag­grieved about the list process.

“We can’t launch a man­i­festo when our mem­bers are wounded. Let’s first ad­dress our struc­tures. We will go to all the ag­grieved branches and re­gions and ex­plain the list process, and only then will we launch a man­i­festo,” said Mfusi.

On Thurs­day, the po­lice had to be called as ANC mem­bers held the deputy pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary and a se­nior staff mem­ber “hostage” in their of­fices.

Act­ing chair­per­son of the West­ern Cape ANC Khaya Ma­gaxa ex­plained that their new ap­proach, which in­cludes pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion in de­ter­min­ing coun­cil­lor can­di­dates, was at the root of the protests.

“Those pub­lic meet­ings de­ter­mine the di­rec­tion. That is new to us and that is why the num­ber of protests is higher this time around,” said Ma­gaxa.

North West

We can’t launch a man­i­festo when our mem­bers are wounded. Let’s first ad­dress our struc­tures

Among the most trou­bled ANC prov­inces dur­ing the can­di­date-se­lec­tion process is the ANC in North West. It also saw mem­bers this week storm­ing its head­quar­ters in Gertrude Mphekwa House in Mahikeng.

On Fri­day, those linked to the ANC’s elec­tion team in North West’s Bo­janala re­gion cir­cu­lated a list show­ing that at least 10 cur­rent ANC coun­cil­lors had reg­is­tered to con­test elec­tions un­der the ban­ner of the new “Fo­rum 4 Ser­vice De­liv­ery”.

“The party has been formed by cur­rent mem­bers of the ANC and oth­ers are de­ployed as ANC coun­cil­lors both ward and PR [pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion],” read the cir­cu­lated SMS that City Press re­ceived.

Those im­pli­cated in the SMS told City Press they had lodged a com­plaint with the IEC to es­tab­lish “how their list ended up in the hands of peo­ple in the ANC”.

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