ANC branches drag their feet

CityPress - - News - S’THEMBILE CELE sthem­bile.cele@city­press.co.za

With one week left for ANC branches to nom­i­nate their pre­ferred lead­er­ship can­di­dates, most prov­inces are only half­way through the task.

“We are push­ing prov­inces to fin­ish them by Novem­ber 15, although peo­ple talk of the 19th, which is a week­end,” ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe said yes­ter­day dur­ing this week­end’s spe­cial sit­ting of the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC).

He dis­missed talk of giv­ing branches more time.

“We have not de­cided to ex­tend any time for them, so no­body must talk about ex­ten­sion of time.

“Peo­ple must hold branch meet­ings within the set time.

The NEC meet­ing is dis­cussing the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s readi­ness for its na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence next month. Del­e­gates will elect a suc­ces­sor to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, the ANC’s five other se­nior of­fi­cials and a new NEC.

Man­tashe said about half of branches had held their gen­eral meet­ings.

“Many prov­inces are do­ing rel­a­tively well. There is one prov­ince which is over 90% with their meet­ings.

“There is a prov­ince which is at 76%, a prov­ince at 71% and an­other at 29%. We will be push­ing for prov­inces to fin­ish the work. Many are not yet in the 70%. Many are at about 50% at the mo­ment,” Man­tashe said.

He re­fused to dis­close which prov­ince was the 29% lag­gard.

How­ever, a for­mer ANC leader in North West, China Dodovu said the slow­est progress was be­ing recorded in that prov­ince and the Free State.

He said this was linked to the fact that mem­ber­ship num­bers had been ar­ti­fi­cially in­flated since the last ANC con­fer­ence.

“When you an­a­lyse the branch mem­ber­ship in North West to­day, strangely and sus­pi­ciously al­most half of branches have more than 1 000 mem­bers. In their his­tory, it is for the first time such branches have so many mem­bers. Given the tight guide­lines, these branches are fail­ing to form a quo­rum,” Dodovu said.

The meet­ings al­low ANC branches to have their say on who should lead the party for the next five-year term. Seven can­di­dates have thrown their hats into the ring: Jeff Radebe, Lindiwe Sisulu, Baleka Mbete, Zweli Mkhize and Mathews Phosa. The two fron­trun­ners are current deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and for­mer AU Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Man­tashe said there was as yet no cause for con­cern about the vi­o­lence breaking out at some branch gen­eral meet­ings.

“Is­sues of vi­o­lence are not as wide­spread as they were in the run-up to the pre­vi­ous con­fer­ence. Pic­tures be­ing spread widely cre­ate the im­pres­sion that there is blood on the floor at meet­ings.”

He said those mat­ters were be­ing dealt with case by case.

The NEC is sched­uled to sit un­til to­mor­row. It will make a fi­nal de­ci­sion on the East­ern Cape elec­tive con­fer­ence, which turned into a bloody, chair-fling­ing brawl in Oc­to­ber.

Al­lies of the Zuma fac­tion want to have the out­comes of the con­fer­ence nul­li­fied and the elected lead­er­ship re­placed with a task team favourable to them. Os­car Mabuyane, a staunch Ramaphosa loy­al­ist, was elected pro­vin­cial chair­per­son at that con­fer­ence.

There is talk that the Zuma fac­tion will call for Ramaphosa to be pun­ished for an­nounc­ing his pre­ferred slate in Lim­popo last week­end.

In a state­ment on Mon­day, Man­tashe rep­ri­manded the ac­tion and said it de­nied the branches the right to choose.

Yes­ter­day, Man­tashe said the is­sue was not on the NEC’s for­mal agenda, but could be raised from the floor.

PHOTO: TEBOGO LETSIE

VERY FUNNY ANC pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa and trea­surer-gen­eral Zweli Mkhize at the party’s NEC meet­ing in Irene, Pre­to­ria, yes­ter­day

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