MCHUNU: CHARGE ANC FRAUD­STERS

The Witness - - FRONT PAGE - CLIVE NDOU

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.

PHOTO: SIYANDA MAYEZA

For­mer KZN pre­mier Senzo Mchunu.

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