ANC lists increase provincial tensions

Free State provincial minister of education and former trade unionist “Papi” Kganare has complained to the ANC about efforts by provincial leadership to exclude him from the election list.

Kganare is close to former premier (and Magashule’s one-time rival) Mosiuoa Lekota. Kganare’s name features at number 41, the third-last on the list of ANC candidates for the provincial legislature.

The African National Congress in the rebellious province has excluded eight present provincial ministers from its list of hopefuls for the legislature. This is believed to be part of a bid by Free State ANC chairperson Ace Magashule for the premiership.

Two other provincial ministers — Zingile Dingane (Finance) and Lechesa Tsenoli (Local Government and Housing), who were deployed by the national leadership to the province — are with Kganare near the bottom of the list.

Premier Winkie Direko’s name had featured at number 52 in the provincial list. She has now been included in the national list at number 39, throwing the door open for the possible appointment of a new Free State premier.

In a letter to the ANC head office three weeks ago, Kganare said he had been barred from attending the provincial list conference last month. He is believed to have alleged that his ANC branch — Bloemfontein central — had elected him as a delegate to attend the provincial list conference, but the provincial leadership had exerted influence on the branch chair and secretary to exclude him.

Kganare’s office declined to comment and directed the Mail & Guardian to the ANC provincial office. ANC provincial spokesperson Spirit Monyobo maintained that the list conference had been a democratic process and the appeal process would address grievances.

ANC national secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe said he was not aware of Kganare’s letter and added: “It is probably with the Appeals Committee.” Appeals and objections in relation to the list of candidates must be lodged by December 5. The lists will be finalised at an extended national executive committee (NEC) meeting on December 15.

Each province’s list of candidates was up for scrutiny by the ANC national list conference over the past weekend.

Concerns about the absence of the provincial ministers in the Free State were raised obliquely, from the floor: there was a question about continuity in the province’s leadership. Free State ANC provincial secretary Pat Matosa assured members that the issue had been taken care of in the list.

Northern Cape’s inclusion of its provincial chair John Block, who has admitted to having used taxpayers’ money to fund personal travel, among other things, was raised outside the plenary of the list conference. ANC officials who attended the meeting said no objection was raised from the floor to the inclusion of his name.

It is understood, however, that the provincial auditor-general who had been tasked by Premier Manne Dipico with investigating Block’s misuse of public funds has — based on Block’s own admission — found him guilty. Dipico is expected to report on the findings to the NEC this weekend, and Block’s future in the province may be uncertain.

Concerns were raised about the inclusion of local government councillors in KwaZulu-Natal’s list of candidates for the provincial legislature. The ANC has tried to prevent local government councillors from standing for provincial and national legislatures to prevent them disrupting local government structures by deserting them for “higher office”.

ANC officials say KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) provincial secretary Sipho Gcabashe tried to defend the inclusion of Durban Mayor Obed Mlaba and Speaker Nomusa Dube in the province’s list of candidates for provincial legislature. But Eastern Cape premier Makhenkesi Stofile shot down Gcabashe’s defence, pointing out that it would set a precedent for the other provinces. The two names were removed from the KZN list.

Meanwhile, ANC officials have noted the dominance of ANC KZN chairperson S’bu Ndebele’s associates at the top of the provincial list. ANC members associated with deputy chair Zweli Mkhize have been relegated to the lower rungs.

Representatives from the Western Cape were questioned on the dominance of candidates from the urban areas. The ANC Western Cape officials responded by pointing out that 70% of the province’s population is based in Cape Town, hence the large urban representation in its list.

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