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Crackdown on ANC poll rebels

Marianne Merten

In a move to whip electoral dissidents back into line, the African National Congress is planning to expel 33 members registered as independents.

In a move to whip electoral dissidents back into line, the African National Congress is planning to expel 33 members registered as independents in the Western and Northern Cape.

In Cape Town, the former-ANC independents cocked a snook at the party: only one of the 26 from Khayelitsha and Delft in Cape Town and the Cape south coast (23 were later expelled) turned up for disciplinary hearings on Wednesday afternoon.

The Northern Cape ANC is taking a tougher line, saying it will write to seven members who have registered as independents informing them of their expulsion. Party officials say the Constitution allows for automatic expulsion if a member canvasses or stands against an officially endorsed ANC candidate.

Talks have averted a similar crackdown in the Free State. Twenty South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) members in Mangaung, Bloemfontein, who planned to stand as independents have been persuaded to support the ANC in the interests of “political stability and development”.

Free State Sanco leader Vuyisile Wittes said that part of the deal was the submission of a list of grievances to the Mangaung authorities, including the continued use of night-soil buckets. No response had yet been received.

But unease persists in tripartite alliance ranks in several provinces over how the ANC municipal candidate lists were compiled.

In the North West, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party say they have been excluded. The SACP also complains of being sidelined in Merafong, where it led protests against the transfer of the municipality from Gauteng to North West. Now it is understood the SACP is refusing to canvass there for the ANC.

The ANC national executive committee lekgotla noted “a number of instances in which the ANC’s list guidelines had not been properly followed”, but, it said, weaknesses would be addressed internally.

In the Western Cape factional conflict has repeatedly come into the public spotlight since last June’s conference, at which chairperson James Ngculu ousted provincial premier Ebrahim Rasool as party boss.

The current leadership maintains a small number of members, who lost out in the local government candidate nomination process are fomenting tensions.

Western Cape deputy secretary Max Ozinsky insisted that on March 1, the independents would “become a non-story”. Since 1995 only one breakaway ANC candidate has been elected; even Sanco provincial deputy chairperson Power Malgas lost out as an independent.

Some independents have a dubious background, including former- Kannaland mayor Jeffrey Donson, who resigned in late 2004, after being implicated in corruption, and Truman Prince, the Beaufort West municipal manager, previously mayor, who hit headlines last year for chatting up underage girls and swearing at women.

Many of the 13 from the southern Cape called to account for joining the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa) are former coloured civic association members with a popular following. They include the 2000 municipal poll Mossel Bay mayor candidate Harry Levendal, until 2004 regional leader, and Oudtshoorn deputy mayor Angeline Lackay.

Icosa spokesperson Dawid Kampfer said none of the grievances addressed to the provincial ANC office had been dealt with. Instead, they had been sidelined. “They wanted to removed our strong coloured leaders … So we started this,” Kampfer said.

Spokesperson for the Khayelitsha independents, Bonginkosi Madikizela, said “people’s candidates” had attracted several hundred people to weekend public meetings.

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