/ 15 January 2009

Mfeketo dropped from ANC task team

Former Cape Town mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo has been removed from her position as convenor of the African National Congress’s (ANC) national executive committee (NEC) task team overseeing party activities in the Western Cape.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Cape Town on Thursday that Gauteng minister of housing Nomvula Mokonyane had been brought in as Mfeketo’s replacement.

However, Mantashe was quick to point out that Mfeketo’s removal did not mean the former mayor was being sidelined.

”It’s the normal reshuffling of teams in the ANC,” he said.

The team was formed by the party’s NEC last month amid a fallout between ANC headquarters Luthuli House and the Western Cape provincial executive committee over the latter’s failure to field candidates in various by-elections in the province in December.

Mfeketo’s close ties with the embattled provincial executive committee, particularly its chairperson Mcebesi Skwatsha, had been cited by the media as the reason she was being removed from the team.

However, Mantashe dismissed the speculation as unfounded. ”What we did in the December NEC meeting … was to reshuffle a number of coordinators. When we move Mfeketo it is not axing; it is the normal reshuffling of the teams,” he said.

Dispelling rumours
On rumours that Luthuli House was on the verge of redeploying Skwatsha, Mantashe said the speculation was news to him.

”There is no debate about the redeployment of Skwatsha in any structure of the ANC,” he said.

However, Mantashe conceded that Skwatsha and the entire provincial executive committee’s powers had been severely reduced.

”We will actually give them strict responsibility, to say to them build the organisation, build branches and regions of the ANC,” he said.

The NEC task team would have the greatest ”political and organisational responsibility” over the province.

The team would also oversee the provincial election team which would be led by former ANC provincial leader Chris Nissen.

Changes in the ANC’s provincial leadership structure take place at a time when the party is facing a strong challenge from the newly formed Congress of the People (Cope), which in the recent by-elections scooped most of the wards previously held by the ruling party.

Mantashe declined to say whether the ANC would allocate ”massive resources” to its election campaign in the province to thwart Cope’s challenge.

”We will put enough resources to run a decent election campaign,” he said. — Sapa