ANC branches gun for Se­abi

● Water­berg branch lead­ers storm Lim­popo ANC head­quar­ters amid ris­ing ten­sions ● They ac­cuse Provin­cial Sec­re­tary Nocks Se­abi of tem­per­ing with na­tional con­fer­ence del­e­gates list

African Times - - Front Page - PIET RAMPEDI AND KARABO NGOEPE

● Water­berg branch lead­ers storm Lim­popo ANC head­quar­ters amid ris­ing ten­sions ● They ac­cuse Provin­cial Sec­re­tary Nocks Se­abi of tem­per­ing with na­tional con­fer­ence del­e­gates list ● Po­lice whisk Se­abi away as they in­ter­vene to defuse po­lit­i­cal ten­sions ● Ramaphosa leads the pack in Lim­popo nom­i­na­tions ● Ma­jor­ity of Lim­popo re­gional lead­ers throw their weight be­hind Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s unity ef­fort

DIS­GRUN­TLED ANC branch lead­ers have stormed the party’s Lim­popo head­quar­ters, ac­cus­ing Provin­cial Sec­re­tary Nocks Se­abi of tem­per­ing with elected del­e­gate lists in a bid to in­flu­ence the out­come of next month’s elec­tive na­tional con­fer­ence.

About 200 mem­bers from the Water­berg re­gion showed up unan­nounced at Frans Mohlala House in Polok­wane on Tues­day, forc­ing party lead­ers to call the po­lice for help in de­fus­ing ten­sions.

Bay­ing for Se­abi’s blood, they chanted slo­gans and threat­ened chaos un­less their con­cerns were ad­dressed be­fore next week’s provin­cial gen­eral coun­cil (PGC) - a gath­er­ing of branches to con­sol­i­date nom­i­na­tions for lead­er­ship po­si­tions ahead of the na­tional con­fer­ence.

This came as Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma in­vited all seven ANC pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls for din­ner at his of­fi­cial res­i­dence in Pre­to­ria last week, in what three of the five re­gional lead­ers in Lim­popo said was a unity ef­fort wor­thy of sup­port.

Lim­popo and Gaut­eng are due to hold their PGC’s next week af­ter Western Cape and North­ern Cape com­pleted theirs last week­end.

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa re­ceived over­whelm­ing sup­port from the two prov­inces while Dr Nkosazana Dlanini-Zuma came sec­ond.

Water­berg, the small­est re­gion in Lim­popo with 69 branches, is a hotly con­tested ter­ri­tory be­tween sup­port­ers of Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa’s.

Toli Mashamaite, Water­berg re­gional sec­re­tary, con­firmed that branch lead­ers from his re­gion took their griev­ances to Se­abi’s of­fice.

He said the branches were con­cerned about what they be­lieve was Se­abi’s uni­lat­eral de­ci­sion to change con­fer­ence del­e­gates in favour of Dlamini-Zuma. They also ac­cused him of hav­ing failed to ad­dress del­e­gates’ dis­crep­an­cies that led to the re­gional con­fer­ence col­laps­ing ear­lier this month.

“Branches also wanted to ver­ify the del­e­gates, be­cause you will re­mem­ber the pack­ages of the branches of Water­berg stayed for a very long time in the of­fice of the Provin­cial Sec­re­tary. In the process, there was mis­trust as well. That’s why they wanted to ver­ify and I think it’s their right,” Mashamaite said.

“They wanted to sub­mit to the lead­er­ship is­sues that we promised to ad­dress be­fore the con­fer­ence. Un­for­tu­nately, there was no one to lis­ten to them or ad­dress them.”

Se­abi’s re­fusal to give both the re­gional and branch lead­er­ship ac­cess to the orig­i­nal branch del­e­gates forms was an­other source of “sus­pi­cions”, Mashamaite added.

Ac­cord­ing to sev­eral ANC mem­bers who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, they ar­rived at Frans Mohlala shortly af­ter noon on Tues­day. How­ever, Se­abi re­fused to meet them and in­stead called the po­lice who rushed to the scene in two vans, a minibus and a Nyala.

As ten­sions rose, the group en­tered the yard and even­tu­ally stormed the build­ing.

When African Times ar­rived at the scene, the group was ex­chang­ing hash words with ANC se­cu­rity of­fi­cials and other lead­ers as po­lice kept a watch­ful eye.

Shortly af­ter 17:00, po­lice cars es­corted a black Mercedez Benz out of the build­ing at high speed as the crowd screamed and gave chase.

The lux­ury car, which was said to be car­ry­ing Se­abi, was whisked away and driven against on­com­ing traf­fic on Bic­card Street - a one-way street op­po­site Frans Mohlala - be­fore turn­ing into Jor­risen Street and dis­ap­pear­ing into the Polok­wane CBD.

Se­abi couldn’t be reached for com­ment as his phone rang unan­swered. Mean­while Mashamaite, his coun­ter­part from Mopani Basikopo Makamu and Vhembe ANC chair­per­son Tshitereke Mat­ibe said their re­gions were ready for the na­tional con­fer­ence.

They said they also sup­ported Zuma’s unity ef­fort which saw him in­vite Dlamni-Zuma; Ramaphosa; ANC trea­surer Zweli Mkhize; Na­tional Chair­per­son Baleka Mbete; and na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) mem­bers Jeff Radebe and Lindiwe Sisulu for din­ner.

Mashamaite said 65 of the re­gion’s 69 branches will take part in the PGC af­ter com­plet­ing their branch gen­eral meet­ings (BGM’s) suc­cess­fully.

Water­berg has not openly pro­nounced on its pre­ferred pres­i­den­tial can­di­date but it’s thought to be largely sup­port­ing Ramaphosa.

“I sup­port any ef­fort that he [Zuma] is do­ing to make sure the ANC is united and the coun­try ul­ti­mately is united,” Mashamaite added.

Mat­ibe said 114 of Vhembe’s 117 branches would take part at the PGC. The rest, which are all in the Lim345 Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, have failed to hold suc­cess­ful BGM’s.

“We have pro­nounced a long time ago in our RGC [re­gional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee), and even the nom­i­na­tions are to­wards that. Out of the 120 branches, 115 are for Cyril and five are for NDZ,” Mat­ibe said.

Al­though Zuma’s unity ef­fort should have been done be­fore the nom­i­na­tions, it was worth sup­port­ing, he added.

“It was sup­posed to have been done a long time ago, but we ap­pre­ci­ate it. Bet­ter late than never,” Mat­ibe said.

Makamu, whose pro-DlaminiZuma re­gion is send­ing 119 of its 124 branches to the con­fer­ence, con­curred.

“Any call by any­body within the ANC that may bring about unity and elim­i­nate con­tes­ta­tion will be wel­come by us as a re­gion,” said Makamu.

“But com­rades must un­der­stand that if you are not in the top six, it doesn’t mean you are not re­quired.”

In Gaut­eng, Cyril Ramaphosa seems to be en­joy­ing mas­sive sup­port than Dlamini-Zuma.

In Jo­han­nes­burg, over 90% of the branches have nom­i­nated him for the po­si­tion of party pres­i­dent, ac­cord­ing to sources in the re­gion.

“128 branches qual­i­fied in Jo­han­nes­burg to go to con­fer­ence and 118 have suc­cess­ful com­pleted the process. The other 10 won’t be go­ing be­cause they didn’t have proper meet­ings.

“Out of the 118, six of them pre­ferred Nkosazana DlaminiZuma as Pres­i­dent and 112 of them pre­ferred Cyril Ramaphosa,” said one source.

Pictures: Den­vor de Wee and Le­bo­gang Mak­wela / Visual Buzz SA

Pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls ANC NEC mem­ber Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and ANC deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

UN­DER SIEGE: ANC provin­cial sec­re­tary Nocks Se­abi. INSET: Water­berg re­gional sec­re­tary Toli Mashamaite.

Pictures: Le­bo­gang Mak­wela / Visual Buzz SA

STORMED: ANC head­quar­ters in Polok­wane.

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