Metro cops ‘turn­ing Cyril faith­ful away from meet­ings’

Sunday Times - - NEWS - By NATHI OLI­FANT

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s sup­port­ers are blam­ing his poor show­ing in Dur­ban, the ANC’s big­gest re­gion in terms of mem­ber­ship, on heav­ily armed eThek­wini metro cops who they claim bar his sup­port­ers from nom­i­na­tion meet­ings.

Ac­cord­ing to statis­tics sup­plied by the KwaZulu-Natal ANC pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, of the 318 party branches that have held nom­i­na­tion meet­ings in the prov­ince, only 69 have cho­sen Ramaphosa as their can­di­date to re­place Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma as party leader in De­cem­ber. The PEC is sup­port­ing Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

In eThek­wini, which has 110 branches, 57 have cho­sen Dlamini-Zuma and none has nom­i­nated Ramaphosa.

The party said on Thurs­day that 247 branches in the prov­ince had cho­sen Dlamini-Zuma and two had cho­sen ANC trea­sur­ergen­eral Zweli Mkhize.

Ramaphosa’s cam­paign­ers in the city claim that many of their sup­port­ers have been barred from meet­ings even though they are “mem­bers in good stand­ing”.

In branches like Ward 16, Pine­town West, and Ward 96, Um­bum­bulu, branch mem­bers claim that metro po­lice have been al­lowed to take over pro­ceed­ings and the vot­ers roll, to ver­ify ANC mem­bers and gate­keep. This had hap­pened in at least nine branch gen­eral meet­ings around Dur­ban.

Siyabonga Gcaba, a branch ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber of the now dis­banded Sipho Mkhize branch in Um­bum­bulu, south of Dur­ban, said his ward was teem­ing with metro po­lice two weeks ago. “The po­lice were ac­tu­ally stand­ing at the gate, tak­ing IDs from peo­ple and check­ing their names against the vot­ers roll. We ob­jected to this as this was for­eign to us,” he said.

The Sun­day Times has seen pic­tures and a video of a metro po­lice of­fi­cer de­mand­ing to see the iden­tity doc­u­ment of a branch mem­ber in Ward 16.

Gcaba said Um­bum­bulu con­tro­ver­sially elected KwaZulu-Natal ANC Youth League sec­re­tary Than­dux­olo Sa­belo as a del­e­gate to the ANC na­tional con­fer­ence next month.

eThek­wini ANC re­gional sec­re­tary Bheki Ntuli ad­mit­ted on Thurs­day that there had been com­plaints about metro po­lice med­dling in branch meet­ings but de­nied that it was hap­pen­ing.

Two metro po­lice of­fi­cers told the Sun­day Times on Wed­nes­day that they had been in­structed to keep out the “rogues” and those who came and sang “Ramaphosa songs and chant­ing #Siyavuma slo­gans”.

Metro po­lice spokesman Si­bonelo Mchunu also de­nied his force was in­ter­fer­ing with branch meet­ing pro­cesses.

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