ANC putting out fires

TROU­BLE-SHOOT­ING: UN­RULY E CAPE CON­FER­ENCE, BRANCH DIS­PUTES

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS - Eric Naki er­icn@cit­i­zen.co.za

Rul­ing party in race against time with na­tional con­fer­ence loom­ing.

The ANC has ini­ti­ated a two-pronged fire-fight­ing process as it pre­pares to hold a “suc­cess­ful” na­tional con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber, with party na­tional ex­ec­u­tives despatched to put things right be­fore the cru­cial elec­tive gath­er­ing.

The party has ap­pointed a high-level ap­peal panel, led by for­mer KwaZulu-Natal pre­mier and ex-min­is­ter of trans­port Sbu Nde­bele, to in­ves­ti­gate the con­tro­ver­sial ANC Eastern Cape con­fer­ence at which vi­o­lence broke out and del­e­gates ex­changed blows and hurled chairs at one an­other last month.

Sep­a­rately, the NEC despatched dis­pute res­o­lu­tion teams that must work at break­neck speed to try and resolve nu­mer­ous dis­putes em­a­nat­ing from the nom­i­na­tion process by branches.

ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Mantashe said the Eastern Cape in­ves­ti­ga­tion did not mean the new pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee elected at the con­fer­ence had been re­moved. The PEC would re­main un­til the panel has fin­ished its probe and pre­sented its re­port to the NEC, which would de­cide on a course of ac­tion, ac­cord­ing to the panel’s rec­om­men­da­tion.

The ANC was forced into a fire-fight­ing ex­er­cise af­ter a group led by pre­mier and pro­vin­cial chair­per­son Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle chal­lenged the con­fer­ence elec­tion re­sults in court. Ma­su­alle was beaten by for­mer sec­re­tary Os­car Mabuyane for the cru­cial pro­vin­cial chair­per­son po­si­tion. The old PEC com­plained to the NEC, which changed it into an ap­peal.

Mantashe said the NEC, which sat at the week­end and on Mon­day, heard var­i­ous re­ports about what tran­spired at the con­fer­ence, held in East Lon­don in Oc­to­ber.

“Se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions were also made of a pre­med­i­tated plan to col­lapse the con­fer­ence. The NEC is un­equiv­o­cal on the need to en­sure that all in­ci­dents that took place are in­ves­ti­gated ex­pe­di­tiously,” Mantashe said. This is not the only cri­sis that the rul­ing party is grap­pling with as it pre­pares for its 54th na­tional con­fer­ence, to be held in Jo­han­nes­burg next month.

It has been forced to despatch nine dis­pute res­o­lu­tion task teams to the prov­ince to han­dle com­plaints about branch gen­eral meet­ings and the nom­i­na­tion process.

While 5 240 vot­ing del­e­gates – com­pris­ing branch mem­bers, the party sec­toral leagues and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from higher struc­tures – have been an­nounced, only 70% of branches had con­vened their branch gen­eral meet­ings.

Sev­eral prov­inces are still lag­ging be­hind with their branch meet­ings. The cul­prits are KwaZulu-Natal, where 40% have been held, North West (54.3%) and Eastern Cape (56%). Prov­inces that are far ahead are Mpumalanga (95.7%), North­ern Cape (94%) and Free State (87.6%), Gaut­eng (76%) and Lim­popo (73.8%), while the rest are in their 50s and 60s in terms of com­ple­tion per­cent­ages.

Mantashe was adamant that the dead­line of to­day would not be ex­tended, but the NEC has de­cided to of­fer mercy to the out­stand­ing branches to or­gan­ise their meet­ings by this week­end – or be left out.

He said the grace pe­riod un­til Sun­day was due to the fact that some branches ex­pe­ri­enced prob­lems in hold­ing meet­ings dur­ing the week. This was also to al­low suf­fi­cient time to con­sider any dis­pute ap­peals lodged.

Mantashe said dis­pute teams would sub­mit a re­port to the na­tional lead­er­ship, which would de­cide on the fate of the Eastern Cape con­fer­ence. –

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