Op­tometrist with an eye for jus­tice wins KZN bat­tle

Mail & Guardian - - News - Paddy Harper

A soft-spo­ken Vry­heid op­tometrist is an un­likely David ver­sus the Go­liath big guns of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal.

But “be­ing fed up” with the gate­keep­ing in the gov­ern­ing party and the ma­nip­u­la­tion of its elec­tive pro­cesses in the prov­ince pro­pelled Lawrence Dube into this role.

Dube (45), Ward 22 coun­cil­lor for the Abaqu­lusi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Zu­l­u­land, brought the ap­pli­ca­tion along with ANC mem­bers Sibahle Zikalala‚ Martin Mzangwa‚ Mzweni Ng­cobo and Lindiwe Buthelezi. The group, sup­port­ers of ousted ANC chair­per­son Senzo Mchunu, said the con­fer­ence and run-up process were rigged in favour of his op­po­nent, Sihle Zikalala.

“I’ve been an ac­tivist and in­volved in the ANC from way back. I got fed up with the way things are be­ing run in the ANC here. We wit­nessed about four con­fer­ences where wrong things were done. That’s why I de­cided to get in­volved in this case,” he said on Thurs­day.

Dube, who is serv­ing his first term as coun­cil­lor, is un­der­stood to be the ANC’s may­oral can­di­date should they win a by-elec­tion at Abaqu­lusi in Oc­to­ber. A win by the ANC will shift the bal­ance of forces in the town, cur­rently run by coali­tion of the Inkatha Free­dom Party, the Demo­cratic Al­liance and the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters.

Born in Davey­ton on the East Rand, Dube first be­came po­lit­i­cally ac­tive in the Congress of South African Stu­dents while still at school. He stud­ied at the for­mer Univer­sity of the North, where he was a mem­ber of the stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive coun­cil, serv­ing along­side the cur­rent Gaut­eng premier, David Makhura.

Af­ter qual­i­fy­ing as an op­tometrist, Dube moved to Hei­del­berg, where he be­came in­volved in the ANC. He was a found­ing mem­ber of the Lebo Ngubane branch and even­tu­ally be­came its chair­per­son.

Dube moved to KwaZulu-Natal to work in Vry­heid and con­tin­ued with his po­lit­i­cal in­volve­ment, trans­fer­ring his mem­ber­ship to the ANC Ward 22 branch. He was brought on to the branch ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee as an ad­di­tional mem­ber, be­com­ing trea­surer and chair­per­son in sub­se­quent branch elec­tions.

It was from this po­si­tion that he be­came an in­flu­en­tial fig­ure in the cam­paign to re-elect Mchunu in 2015, with Abaqu­lusi declar­ing its sup­port for his can­di­da­ture as chair­per­son ahead of the elec­tive con­fer­ence. The Pi­eter­mar­itzburg high court ruled on Tues­day that the con­fer­ence was un­law­ful.

Dube with­drew from the op­tom­e­try prac­tice he was in­volved in af­ter be­com­ing in­volved “full-time” in the court case.

Dube, who is mar­ried and has chil­dren, said he be­lieved the pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (PEC) needed to step down im­me­di­ately.

“For now I can’t say more than that. The PEC should step down. The only thing I’m ex­pect­ing from the NEC [na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee] is that they should dis­band them and put in place a pro­vin­cial task team. That would be a just ac­tion on the part of the NEC,” he said.

Dube and his fel­low ap­pli­cants have re­fused to com­ment on who funded their ap­pli­ca­tion, half the costs of which will have to be paid by the PEC in terms of the court rul­ing.

Dube seems un­ruf­fled by the ef­fect of the court rul­ing and the po­ten­tial of threats to his life for tak­ing on the party lead­er­ship in the prov­ince.

“I’m not scared of any­thing. I don’t have any bodyguard. God is my bodyguard,” he said.

Vic­tory: ANC coun­cil­lor Lawrence Dube cel­e­brates the court rul­ing that the KwaZulu-Natal elec­tive con­fer­ence was un­law­ful. Photo: Ro­gan Ward

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.