Protesters stop ANC leaders from meeting
Chaotic scenes played out at the ANC’s Nelson Mandela Bay headquarters, Florence Matomela House, on Wednesday as provincial executive leaders were barred from holding a meeting to discuss the recent disbanding of the regional structure.
ANC Eastern Cape secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi was meant to announce the new regional task team but defiant members of the ANC and small business owners stormed the building and chased everyone out, declaring the RTT would not hold any meeting.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte was also meant to meet with members of the disbanded regional executive committee (REC) after it emerged at the weekend that they had appealed against the decision by the provincial executive committee (PEC).
The PEC dissolved the Bay REC in October but ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule wrote to all provincial secretaries two weeks ago saying PECs should desist from disbanding regional structures.
ANC branch member Unathi Skade said Ngcukayitobi was meant to announce the RTT. “They [RTT members] were all here, waiting [for] the PEC to arrive, when ANC branches and businesspeople came inside and said [ANC provincial chair Oscar] Mabuyane would not go in, and they threw those inside out,” Skade said.
“When everyone had dispersed outside, and while comrades were busy singing, police fired stun grenades on them without being provoked.”
Bay REC member Ayanda Simayi said the ANC’s national executive committee, through the Magashule letter, stated there should be no disbanding of structures, and PECs that had done this should reinstal those structures.
“The reason [why] they really want to run with the disbandment [in Nelson Mandela Bay] is because when we went to the [8th provincial] conference we supported the leadership of Andile Lungisa,” Simayi said.
In October, the PEC resolved that ANC councillor Lungisa should step down as a member of the mayoral committee pending the outcome of his appeal against his conviction and sentencing after he was found guilty of assault in April.
It asked the REC to implement its decision.
One of the reasons given for disbanding the REC was that it failed to execute mandates given to it by the PEC.
Bay Black Business Caucus co-ordinator Lithemba Singaphi, who was one of those leading SMMEs outside Florence Matomela House, said they could not allow the PEC to remove someone who sought to address their plight when they were the same people who recommended that Lungisa lead the economic development, tourism and agriculture portfolio.
“When this municipality was led by the DA, [ANC provincial headquarters] Calata House said ‘you donated the votes, find your own way out or learn to be an opposition’.
“This young man [Lungisa] fought with other people to find a strategy and identified the weakest link within the DA, now you want to remove the person who brought us hope,” Singaphi said.
Attempts to obtain comment from Ngcukayitobi and Duarte were unsuccessful.
The Herald understands, the meeting with Duarte continued at an undisclosed hotel until late on Wednesday.
ANGRY SCENES: ANC and SMME members protest on Wednesday outside Florence Matomela House, where Oscar Mabuyane and Jesse Duarte were due to meet