Metro cops ‘turning Cyril faithful away from meetings’
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.