ANC faces same old squabbles

The ANC faces a major headache as it tries to stabilise its structures in the Western Cape and North West provinces.

Some of the prominent personalities who were part of structures that the party recently disbanded are preparing to fight for their former positions.

The ANC’s leadership in both provinces was disbanded for promoting division and factionalism. But less than a week after the two provincial executive committees (PECs) were given the boot, lobbying has already started to return them to power.

Former North West secretary Supra Mahumapelo, his chairperson Nono Maloyi and former Western Cape chairperson Mcebisi Skwatsha are likely to make a comeback when the provincial conferences are called in the next nine months. The three are now ordinary members of the ANC.

Skwatsha said he would stand for re-election if nominated.
“I will be happy and ready to lead the ANC. I believe I have a lot to offer.”

Mahumapelo refused to say if he would accept or decline a nomination to stand again. But his supporters told the Mail & Guardian they were preparing to return him to office.

Although Skwatsha has a dedicated following in the party, Ndoda Ngemntu, the Western Cape ANC Youth League spokesperson, said he would prefer not to see him re-elected because the PEC had failed in its duty.

“We raised a number of complaints, including that we have to reach out to all communities in the Western Cape. The ANC is popular in the African townships, but we have to practise non-racialism,” he said.

Khaya Magaxa, the SACP provincial secretary, said the SACP was delighted that the ANC had heeded its call for intervention.

“Our major concern was the squabbles within the ANC in the province and the fact that those in government were battling with those in the ­organisation.”

Skwatsha did not deny that factionalism existed in the province, but said he had tried to counter the problem in the short time allocated to his team.

Only two months after the PEC was elected in September, he pointed out, the national ANC appointed a task team to run the province.

“It [factionalism] has been there, and it is something no one in the ANC should be proud of,” he said.

The M&G has learnt that the branches which installed the North West PEC will field the same list of candidates as was submitted to last year’s Sun City conference.

“Our position is very clear that the same leadership will emerge,” said a regional executive committee member from Bophirima.

The opposing group, which lost the election last year, will adjust its list, adding former MP Khotso Khumalo to challenge Mahumapelo for the position of secretary.

Although Mahumapelo commands enormous support, Khumalo might present a serious challenge. He is the former organiser of the ANC Youth League in the province and has built a national profile as a member of Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications.

“We need someone who will rebuild our structures, someone who is strong in administration, because we’re starting from scratch,” said a member of the group supporting Khumalo.

Mahumapelo’s supporters were adamant this week that they would not settle for anyone else. But an ANC provincial office staffer sympathetic to the disbanded PEC said it would be difficult to erase the legacy of Mahumapelo, whose supporters referred to him as “Jesus”.

Meanwhile, a row has erupted over speculation that Lynne Brown, the outgoing Western Cape provincial deputy chairwoman, and Sipho Kroma, the ANC provincial secretary, have been drafted into an interim provincial task team, while Skwatsha has been sidelined.

Ngemntu said that Gwede Mantashe, the ANC secretary-general, had not had permission to draw up a list of 22 interim task-team members the list should have come from the national working committee.

Mantashe visited the regional offices this week and met several leaders who were on the task-team list, which has been leaked to media and party members.

“We will not support a bunch of irresponsible politicians,” Ngemntu said. “Brown and Kroma have failed as leaders and we will strenuously object to them being in the task team.”

Glynnis Underhill

Glynnis Underhill

Glynnis Underhill has been in journalism for more years than she cares to remember. She loves a good story as much now as she did when she first started. The only difference is today she hopes she is giving something back to the country.
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  • Mmanaledi Mataboge

    Mmanaledi Mataboge

    Mmanaledi Mataboge is the Mail & Guardian's political editor. Raised in a rural village, she later studied journalism in a township where she fell in love with the medium of radio. This former radio presenter and producer previously worked as a senior politics reporter for the Mail & Guardian, and writes on politics, government, and anything that gives the disadvantaged, poor, and the oppressed a voice.
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