ANC Nelson Mandela Bay chairperson Andile Lungisa has resigned following confirmation that the party’s national executive committee found his decision to contest for the position was unconstitutional.
Lungisa was elected as chairperson of the region earlier this month, despite warnings from ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe that he was not allowed to do so because he holds a position in the Eastern Cape provincial executive committee.
His election was seen to have been endorsed by president Jacob Zuma, who flew to Port Elizabeth and described the former ANC Youth League deputy president as a man of character just hours after he won the contest.
Mantashe said the NEC reaffirmed the warning his office issued to Lungisa before the election, and called on the provincial officials to ‘deal’ with him.
“The NEC reaffirmed the position that nobody elected to a structure may contest for a position in a structure lower than where they are serving. NEC directed [officials] of the Eastern Cape to deal with the matter in line with the NEC decision. and called for strict discipline and the unbiased application of policies,” Mantashe told journalists at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters.
“We welcome the resignation, that’s what we wanted…This was unnecessary and unfortunate. It has caused unnecessary consternation. These things send negative messages to the public,” said ANC Eastern Cape secretary general, Oscar Mabuyane, who hoped Lungisa learnt from the ordeal.
“As leaders we are learning and I think even for Andile it was a learning curve, I hope others will learn from him,” he added.
But Lungisa still faces disciplinary action for his claims that Mantashe was using the ANC constitution “selectively” to protect the “faction that he serves.”
Mabuyane said the provincial officials will take charge of the disciplinary process against Lungisa:
“We are going to get all the reports and it will be up to the provincial working committee to determine the course of action.”
Mabuyane said his insistence that Lungisa should step down was not personal. “I don’t think there was someone with a personal vendetta against Andile, we just said let’s correct what was wrong,” Mabuyane told the Mail and Guardian.