The ANC task team in the Western Cape has dissolved 10% of its 348 party branches in the province in a move described as “a disaster” for the party.
ANC members said they were horrified by what they saw as the destruction of party structures.
“The task team has run an atrocious programme since the Western Cape executive committee was disbanded. It’s dissolving branches all over the place,” said a member.
“The national executive committee decided on an early provincial conference nine months after the provincial executive committee was disbanded, but now this is not going to happen.
“They are taking apart legislated structures that were ratified by Mandla Dlamini [the acting task team coordinator] at a provincial conference.”
Another ANC insider claimed the task team was trying to set up branches that would not re-elect former provincial secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha and his former deputy, Max Ozinsky.
Former Western Cape premier Ebrahim Rasool and Ozinsky were both temporarily suspended in November last year after they attacked each other in the Mail and Guardian.
Responding to criticism, acting task team head Dlamini said only about 10% of ANC branches in the province had been dissolved.
“Some had not held their annual general meetings and others did not have the required 100 people at each branch,” Dlamini said. “We dissolved only those branches that needed dissolving.”
Dlamini confirmed that the provincial task team also disbanded the Dullah Omar regional task team last week. The region encompasses 105 ANC branches in the Cape metro.
“We will appoint a new regional task team this week,” said Dlamini. “A lot of the task team members were not available, or not doing their work, or attending meetings.”
He confirmed that he had not yet set a date for the ANC’s Western Cape conference, which could be held only once the task team had done a full audit of branches.
The task team was installed in July last year after the party disbanded its provincial executive committee, saying that the Western Cape party was deeply divided and faction-ridden.
This week, when Nelson Mandela’s release from jail is being commemorated, all available ANC national executive committee members were recruited to work with the task team.
Dlamini insisted that accusations that the North West provincial task team had entrenched a pro-Jacob Zuma faction and sidelined supporters of former president Thabo Mbeki did not apply to the Western Cape.
“Here there are some branches where loyalties are being paid to certain individuals within the structures,” he said. “But they have to be persuaded to pay loyalty to the organisation and we are getting there.”
Lobbying for individuals was allowed, he said, but only within the parameters permitted by the ANC. Skwatsha, for example, was working in his Khayelitsha constituency, said Dlamini.
Party members expressed doubt that the Western Cape ANC will be ready for the local government elections next year.
“The distinct impression is that the provincial task team cannot do the work and that the provincial executive committee should not have been disbanded,” said one member. “Branches are now weak or nonexistent.”
Meanwhile, two ANC veterans — former provincial education minister Yusuf Gabru and former finance minister Garth Strachan — resigned from the provincial parliament last month.
Gabru denied talk that they were driven out by internal struggles, saying he was ready for change.