ANC provincial conference in jeopardy after dispute
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”.