Mail & Guardian

Teris Ntuthu’s ‘fightback’ will be fiercely contested

- Khaya Koko

Any efforts to launch a fightback against the Eastern Cape ANC’S decision to sack R10-million fraud-andcorrupt­ion accused Teris Ntuthu will be met with stern resistance from the party’s “legitimate branches”.

This was the assertion made this week by several sources, who were reacting to Tuesday’s announceme­nt that the Eastern Cape ANC’S provincial executive committee (PEC) had decided to suspend Ntuthu’s membership, including axing him from his powerful position in the PEC, as well as the secretary of the party’s Amathole region.

Ntuthu, who was involved in the deployment of party members to strategic municipal posts as regional secretary, faces the chop because of his ongoing corruption case in the Mnquma local municipali­ty for alleged fraud in the procuremen­t of black plastic bags worth about R10million. Ntuthu, who made a court appearance last week, has maintained his innocence in the matter since his arrest in 2017.

His removal this week, according to the Eastern Cape ANC provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayito­bi, was part of the ANC’S “step aside” rule, which requires party members, who

are implicated in allegation­s of corruption and other serious crimes, to be removed from positions of deployment or elected party posts.

Ntuthu has been accused of being behind the financial ruin of the Amathole district municipali­ty, which encompasse­s six local municipali­ties, including Mnquma, and which announced in January that

it would not be able to pay salaries from February to June. Ntuthu previously told the Mail & Guardian that all those accusing him of corruption should report him to the police and not the newspapers.

Meanwhile, in a statement this week by Shiella Xhego, speaking on behalf of the Amathole regional task team, she said that the regional structure “expressed its suspicions on the constituti­onality of [the decision to remove Ntuthu], and advised comrade Ntuthu to consider his rights to appeal the decision”.

But sources stressed that the majority of branches supported the PEC’S decision to sack Ntuthu, adding that there would be stern resistance to any fightback campaign to reverse the suspension.

“In our region, we cannot give support to any fightback campaign launched on behalf of [Ntuthu]. The majority of branches in the Amathole region welcome and support the decision of the PEC,” said one source, who asked to remain anonymous.

“We need to focus on the work of the organisati­on in going into this year’s local government elections. There is no way that he [Ntuthu] can launch a fightback campaign because, when you look at the balance of forces, branches that support him lack legitimacy going into the branch general meetings,” the source added.

Insiders who were privy to the heated PEC meeting that axed Ntuthu last weekend said he fought hard to stave off his removal, to no avail. It was also revealed that, despite his intense lobbying, the

M&G article from two weeks ago, in which it was reported that the Ngqushwa local municipali­ty made more than R10-million in bogus payments to swell ANC regional coffers in preparatio­n for the upcoming Amathole regional conference, was the final stick used to remove Ntuthu.

“We are tired of his [Ntuthu’s] leadership — it ruined a lot. We will defend and support the decisions of the PEC as branches of the ANC. We are clear on that point,” another insider said. “What will Ntuthu appeal because the ‘step aside’ resolution was adopted at the ANC’S 2017 national conference. Branches took that decision, which is not unconstitu­tional.”

These sentiments were echoed by Eastern Cape premier and the ANC’S provincial chairperso­n, Oscar Mabuyane, who said the party would adhere to the step-aside regulation­s.

“We have reiterated our position that all members of the organisati­on who are formally charged for corruption and serious crimes should step aside from their positions of responsibi­lity,” Mabuyane asserted.

He made these comments on Monday as part of his closing remarks to the PEC meeting held last weekend.

 ?? Photo: Facebook ?? Time to step aside: Teris Ntuthu was axed from his position on the ANC’S Eastern Cape PEC last weekend.
Photo: Facebook Time to step aside: Teris Ntuthu was axed from his position on the ANC’S Eastern Cape PEC last weekend.

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