MCHUNU: CHARGE ANC FRAUDSTERS
FORMER KwaZuluNatal premier Senzo Mchunu has called for criminal charges to be brought against ANC leaders who manipulate candidate nomination processes.
ANC branches are currently holding meetings to decide who should succeed President Jacob Zuma as the party president in next month’s national conference.
Speaking during an exclusive interview with The Witness, Mchunu described the manner in which ANC leaders were bending rules to get their preferred candidates nominated as “criminal”.
“People want to glorify what is cur rently taking place at branch general meetings (BGMs) as rigging. What we are seeing is fraud and thuggery and only police will be able to deal with that,” he said.
The forging of signatures, the illegal removal of branch members from the voters’ rolls and the intimidation of members who support a rival candidate have been some of the accusations levelled against ANC leaders during BGMs.
“What is happening at some of these BGMs is outright criminality.
“It is shocking to see the extent to which certain ANC leaders have turned against their own party, defying every principle, value and belief that the ANC stands for,” he said.
TWO candidates — Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana DlaminiZuma — have emerged as the front runners to succeed President Jacob Zuma as the party leader.
Ramaphosa supporters from nearly 100 branches across the province are said to have lodged disputes after elections in their respective BGMs were allegedly rigged.
The flood of complaints has resulted in the ANC national leadership setting up dispute resolution committees to probe the allegations.
“I have heard of complaints before, particularly around processes leading up to conference, but not at this scale. It’s shocking,” Mchunu said.
Mchunu, who is a candidate for the ANC secretarygeneral position on the Ramaphosa slate, was in 2016 axed as premier by the current ruling party provincial leadership, which backs DlaminiZuma.
The former premier believes widespread irregularities in BGMs are a reflection of a lack of principled leadership within the ANC.
“One of the problems we have is that we have a president who rushes to court each time he feels that his rights had been trampled upon.
“However, if a member of the ANC complains to him, like I did when I was unfairly dismissed, he just turns a deaf ear,” he said.
Zuma, whose tenure has been marred by scandals, had been accused of allowing members of the controversial Gupta family to capture government entities.
“If a national leader is seen to be corrupt and unprincipled, it sends a message to provincial and local leaders that it is okay for them to be corrupt.
“The corruption that we see at the national level has a ripple effect on provinces and branches, hence the high level of corruption that we currently see in BGMs,” Mchunu said.
The ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) that ejected Mchunu from office has maintained that it redeployed him to the National Assembly as opposed to firing him. However, Mchunu has rejected the PEC’s version. “No, no, they came to me with a prepared report which painted a picture that I have been found wanting as a premier.
“When I requested them to grant me an opportunity to respond to the accusations which they were making against me they refused and said I should just go to Parliament in Cape Town,” he said.
Mchunu, who turned down the offer to be redeployed to the National Assembly, said accusations made by the PEC against him had created the impression that he was leaving office under a cloud.
“And how on earth was I expected to go to Parliament and call myself a honourable person when there was this cloud hanging over me. That is why I asked them to first give me the platform to defend myself before going to Parliament,” he said.
Mchunu declined to comment about his being on Ramaphosa’s slate, but he dismissed a recent statement by ANC provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli that he was not fit to be secretarygeneral.
Ntuli had said it would be unwise for the ANC to elect Mchunu to the top position as the former premier was still bitter over his removal from office.
“I’m loyal to the ANC and sensitive to injustice and unfairness.
“I’m the kind of a person who is not afraid to speak out against injustice and unfairness ... does that turn me into an angry person, I don’t think so,” he said.
Former KZN premier Senzo Mchunu.