ANC outlines plans to reclaim Western Cape

The African National Congress (ANC) says it is to conduct an audit of all its Western Cape branches as a first step to regaining control of the City of Cape Town and the province.

“Obviously we have to start internally, because without proper organisation our work is going to be very difficult,” the party’s interim leader in the province, Membathisi Mdladlana, said on Friday.

“Our first phase in our programme is to audit all our branches. There are serious problems in those branches.

“There are branches that belong to certain individuals with money. This is not peculiar to the Western Cape, but it is probably more pronounced in certain areas.”

Preliminary findings were “scary”, said Mdladlana, who is a member of the ANC’s national executive and minister of labour.

Speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town, he said that in some areas there were so-called branches with only six members, a violation of the ANC constitution.

There were also fly-by-night branches formed on the eve of provincial congresses.

And it was “disgusting ...
to say the least” that there was only one ANC branch in Cape Town’s huge and largely coloured area of Mitchells Plain.

“As President [Jacob] Zuma said, we are sick, we need healing. And that’s what we have been brought here to do, to heal the ANC in the Western Cape.

“It’s going to be difficult, it’s not going to be nice,” he said.

An important part of the ANC’s programme in the province would be a focus on the core issues of education, health, housing, crime and job creation.

The ANC intended in the interim to teach the Democratic Alliance, which currently controls the Western Cape, how to be an effective opposition.

There would be a province-wide “political education campaign”, and support for ANC-led municipalities and ANC councillors to improve service delivery.

“We cannot meekly accept being governed by today’s democrats who are yesterday’s oppressors,” he said.

Mdladlana said ANC president Zuma would visit the province next month to talk to civil society groups.

The interim leadership was planning a “peaceful” provincial conference in about six months,

Asked whether he would be happy to see Mcebisi Skwatsha re-elected then to the post of provincial chairperson, he said as a Christian there were many things that made him unhappy, and many that made him happy.

“And one of those is that we must preach the gospel that everybody repents,” he said.

“And that’s the reason why Jesus was hanged [crucified], was because he preached to those who were sinners.

“Skwatsha is a member of the ANC. He has not been excommunicated from the ANC.

“The only thing that has been done is to dissolve the PEC [provincial executive council] and he is part of that PEC that has been dissolved.

“The ANC had not said that those members must not stand. That instruction ... has not been given by the African National Congress.”

The ANC’s national structure disbanded the PEC in July this year, accusing it of factionalism, patronage and centralising deployment and resources.

The turmoil in the party in the province played a major role in the ANC losing control of the Western Cape in the April general election.

In 2006 the ANC lost control of Cape Town when DA leader Helen Zille became mayor.

The axed PEC was accused of marginalising the party’s coloured voters, who make up the majority population group in the province.—Sapa

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