ANC pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence in jeop­ardy after dis­pute

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­

The ANC is fac­ing an in­ter­nal re­bel­lion in the North­ern Cape as dis­grun­tled mem­bers and lead­ers defy party in­struc­tions from the province as well as Luthuli House.

The dis­pute over mem­ber­ship records, re­sult­ing in spo­radic incidents of vi­o­lence, has put a halt to the province’s plans to hold an elec­tive con­fer­ence to choose new lead­ers.

The con­fer­ence was ex­pected to kick off on Wed­nes­day, but a fi­nal date has yet to be sched­uled.

In Frances Baard Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, the task team sent by ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe to deal with com­plaints was un­able to com­plete its mis­sion as mem­bers viewed the team with sus­pi­cion and ques­tioned its “man­date”.

Pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Za­mani Saul has had to fend off al­le­ga­tions that he was ma­nip­u­lat­ing branch records to gain an ad­van­tage in his lobby to win the next ANC pro­vin­cial chair against Pre­mier Sylvia Lu­cas.

“We ex­pect the [task team’s] re­port to be a white­wash as they ap­peared to be tak­ing a man­date from [Saul],” reads a mem­o­ran­dum of griev­ances in City Press’ pos­ses­sion.

Man­tashe and Saul were seen to be back­ing Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa to take over from Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma at the ANC’s up­com­ing na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

Al­though Zuma’s back­ers wanted ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) mem­ber Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed her ex-hus­band, those op­pos­ing Saul in the North­ern Cape were not nec­es­sar­ily op­posed to Ramaphosa.

Sev­eral in­ter­ven­tions that Man­tashe tried in a bid to calm the sit­u­a­tion – in­clud­ing vis­it­ing the province to­gether with his deputy Jessie Duarte and NEC de­ploy­ees to the North­ern Cape – ap­peared to have failed.

Last week, ac­cord­ing to the mem­o­ran­dum, re­gional lead­ers in John Taolo Gaet­sewe Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Ku­ru­man re­fused to meet Saul in Kimberley, cit­ing “late no­ti­fi­ca­tion and the bizarreness of the in­struc­tion”.

Dis­grun­tled ANC mem­bers have also re­fused to ac­cept the out­comes of Luthuli House’s mem­ber­ship au­dits, cit­ing al­leged dis­crep­an­cies – one of them be­ing that the Pix­ley ka Seme Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in De Aar, also home to Saul, had in­creased its size by 3 000 mem­bers.

The dis­crep­ancy, ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment, meant that the re­gion would bring to the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence 98 del­e­gates – just three del­e­gates less than the big­gest re­gion in the province, Frances Baard in Kimberley. Kimberley is the strong base of cur­rent ANC deputy sec­re­tary Alvin Botes, who is back­ing Lu­cas.

In ZF Mg­cawu Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Uping­ton, there is a push for the re­gional lead­ers to face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion over al­le­ga­tions of cloning mem­ber­ship, “which hap­pens when the same mem­ber’s form ap­pears in sev­eral other branches and is used to pass a branch for au­dit and to af­fect the del­e­gate num­ber”, ac­cord­ing to the mem­o­ran­dum.

At a me­dia brief­ing on Fri­day, Saul re­jected the “neg­a­tive nar­ra­tive” that there was chaos in the province and that the con­fer­ence “will be ac­com­pa­nied by an apoc­a­lypse”.

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