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21 Nov 2003 23:59
The South African Communist Party has broken ranks with its African National Congress allies in the Northern Cape over their defence of ANC chairperson John Block, who faces corruption allegations.
The SACP in the province has also asked for the ANC national leadershipâ€™s intervention in the provincial list process through which the organisationâ€™s candidates for next yearâ€™s general election are being selected. Block, who recently admitted to and apologised for spending taxpayersâ€™ money on private travel, tops the provincial list.
The SACPâ€™s Northern Cape secretary, Chris Matlhako, said the provincial ANCâ€™s public backing of Block without even discussing it in the organisation would be damaging to the party in the elections.
“Block has admitted to wrongdoing.
Matlhako said the provincial list lacked balanced representation in terms of having senior ANC members, continuity of leadership, equitable gender representation, representatives of the tripartite alliance and new entrants.
He pointed out that ANC Northern Cape deputy chairperson Dipuo Peters was number 27 in the provincial list, while newcomer Dave Molusi was number 12.
The communists in the province are also insisting that SACP provincial chairperson Rasiti Tau, who is also an ANC member, be included in the list. Matlhako said: “Peters, who is the minister for health in the province, is one of our better ministers. So is Pakes Dikgetsi, the minister for housing, and he features at number 19.”
Provincial office bearers had raised the concerns at the SACPâ€™s (national) central committee meeting over the weekend and wished the matter to be raised with the ANCâ€™s national leadership, Matlhako said.
ANC Northern Cape secretary Neville Mompati said the province was still to determine its official position on Block. “We do not know what is real and what is not. The auditor generalâ€™s investigations will help determine our position. The SACP has the right to formulate its own position on the matter.”
Mompati claimed that the SACP had “withdrawn its inaccurate assess-ment” following a meeting earlier in the week. He said the ANC had pointed out that it was too late to include Tau in the list.
The SACP had complained there were “too many coloureds in the list”, Mompati said. We have only one Indian and no whites on the list, but look at our membership in the province.”
The ANCâ€™s two-day national list conference starts in Ekurhuleni on November 21. Besides the Northern Cape, two other provinces might come under national scrutiny at the conference.
There are also rumblings within the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal over the fact that senior party members appear way below those who recently defected to the ANC. And the Free State, which left out six of its provincial ministers, will be called to answer.
In KwaZulu-Natal ANC stalwart Happy Blose, who is currently a member of the legislature, appears at number 51 in the provincial list, while newcomers such as Belinda Scott, who defected from the Democratic Alliance, and Mike Tarr, formerly with the Inkatha Freedom Party, feature among the top 20.
And Jan Slabbert, who resigned from his one-man Peace and Development Party following his nomination to the ANC candidate lists last month, features at number 23.
Some ANC members point out that in a province where 10% of the population is Indian, the first Indian features at 29 — ironically, this is Omie Singh, who defected from the DA last year — while the top 20 includes three whites.
ANC provincial secretary Sipho Gcabashe dismissed the complaints as “nonsense. There was a list conference and branches elected the members in the manner they did.”
n Marianne Merten reports that the ANCâ€™s national list committee is expected to intervene in the Free State list of candidates for the legislature, after only one of the serving seven provincial ministers made it to the top 30. Free State ANC spokesperson Spirit Monyobo said changes in the list were ongoing and the list would be finalised at the list conference.
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