Mabuza case yet an­other ANC crack

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - OPINION -

What­ever hap­pens in the on­go­ing court case in Mpumalanga brought by ag­grieved mem­bers of the ANC, a very un­pleas­ant can of worms will be opened for the party. The case threat­ens to cast doubts over the le­git­i­macy over ANC grass­roots struc­tures in the province – with dodgy deal­ings and ger­ry­man­der­ing of in­ter­nal party mem­ber­ship rolls said to go back many years.

Those go­ing to court are ac­cus­ing the Mpumalanga pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (PEC) – the pow­er­house of for­mer premier and now Deputy Pres­i­dent David Mabuza – of vi­o­lat­ing the ANC’s con­sti­tu­tion.

Al­though the al­le­ga­tions still have to be tested in court, the com­plainants claim whole­sale fraud among mem­ber­ship lists had been com­mit­ted by the PEC. One ex­am­ple of this is the fact that, in many cases in Mpumalanga, there is more than one ANC branch per ward – some­thing which vi­o­lates the ANC con­sti­tu­tion.

Ev­i­dence to be pro­duced in the le­gal ac­tion in­cludes claims of a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of “ghost” mem­bers, whose names ap­pear in du­pli­cate, or even trip­li­cate, on the party lists.

The out­come of the case is cru­cial for the gov­ern­ing ANC be­cause it could, in the­ory, af­fect the results of last year’s elec­toral con­fer­ence at Nas­rec. Mpumalanga’s sig­nif­i­cant mem­ber­ship num­bers trans­lated into del­e­gates and the province was ef­fec­tively the “king­maker”. Mabuza’s peo­ple threw in their lot with Cyril Ramaphosa, paving the way for the lat­ter to be elected ANC leader and there­fore, the pres­i­dent.

Even if there is no at­tempt to chal­lenge the con­fer­ence results, the un­seemly le­gal fight is an­other in a se­ries of ANC in­ter­nal dis­putes which in­di­cate that there is plenty of sus­pi­cious con­duct even within its own mem­ber­ship. It’s easy to see why, though. Po­lit­i­cal of­fice is – or has been, up to now – the fast track to wealth, not ser­vice to the peo­ple.

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