/ 30 August 2007

ANC declines comment on Sithole ‘suspension’

The African National Congress (ANC) declined to comment on Thursday’s media reports that national membership officer Alex Sithole had been suspended for inflating membership figures.

Business Day reported on Thursday that Sithole had issued ANC membership cards to branches from head office, despite instructions that these be issued locally only.

ANC spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said the party would not comment on Sithole’s alleged suspension because it did not comment on ”internal staff issues”.

Rikhotso also said since the media report about the alleged suspension did not identify from whom they got their information, he would not respond.

”I don’t comment on ghosts and people who are faceless.”

He said if the party believed there was an issue that was appropriate for public consumption, the party would bring it to attention.

Earlier on Thursday, Business Day said Sithole apparently now faced a host of charges serious enough to lead to dismissal — including gross negligence, disobeying a lawful order, insubordination and bringing the ANC into disrepute.

The paper said Sithole was claiming to be on leave.

However, it had learnt that ANC secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe was appointing a chairperson for a disciplinary committee against Sithole.

This alleged membership scandal comes just three months away from the ANC conference, where it will elect its new leader — who will be the next president of the country.

Branch membership is crucial for this leadership election. Branch delegates hold 90% of voting power in the leadership elections and the larger the branch, the more voting power they have, said Business Day. — Sapa