ANC branches, particularly in the Free State, have experienced turmoil where youth league regional secretary Zolile Mashika was injured during a scuffle at a branch meeting, allegedly by a group aligned to Premier Ace Magashule.
ANC members in three provinces – Free State, North West and Eastern Cape – have approached the party’s headquarters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg to ask that their provincial executive committees be disbanded for factionalism over disagreements related to preferred candidates for regional and provincial elections.
Earlier this week, regional leaders from three regions in the Free State – Motheo, Thabo Mofutsanyana and Lejweleputswa – travelled to Luthuli House to ask secretary general Gwede Mantashe to disband the provincial executive committee.
A report from the Motheo region states: “Where this foreign tendency was allowed to run riot, it was done with the blessings of Comrade Ace Magashule and in the majority of cases, most of such parallel [branch] meetings where a parallel structure was installed, it was done in his presence, an act [in] compete violation of the organisational guidelines underlying the ANC constitution in terms of launch of branches.
By hook or crook
“This strange trend condoned by Magashule was consciously meant to install branches and ultimately regional leadership that would eventually ensure that he emerges once again as a trusted leader of the province, by hook or crook or both, by ferocity or foul, all manner of gross irregularities.”
In the Eastern Cape, ANC members have accused the provincial executive committee – seen as close to Zuma – of launching parallel branch structures, particularly in the Amathole and OR Tambo regions. The two biggest regions in the province have had their regional conferences postponed several times due to disputes in branches. The Mail & Guardian has also learnt that the provincial executive committee was planning to disband the new Nelson Mandela Bay regional executive committee.
In the Northern Cape, ANC provincial chairperson John Block is expected to be re-elected when the party holds its provincial conference on Thursday next week. Although Block and ANC Northern Cape provincial secretary Zamani Saul have been known to be firmly behind the campaign to unseat Zuma and replace him with Motlanthe, two of the biggest and most influential regions – Siyanda and Francis Baard – have defied Block and vowed to throw their weight behind Zuma.
Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources Godfrey Oliphant – who is said to be close to Zuma and Mantashe – is expected to challenge Block for the position.
In North West, Premier Thandi Modise’s recent cabinet reshuffle has fuelled tensions between factions aligned to Zuma and Motlanthe.
Modise is close to ANC provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge, who is aligned those who are pushing for Motlanthe to replace Zuma.