/ 10 November 2017

Provincial spats set tone for national battle

But one NEC member said Ramaphosa supporters would fight back if this issue is raised: “We will deal with them
But one NEC member said Ramaphosa supporters would fight back if this issue is raised: “We will deal with them

Provincial leadership disputes and court battles are expected to dominate a special sitting of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) ahead of the party’s December elective conference.

The meeting, from November 11 to 13, will also decide whether to uphold the results of the Eastern Cape’s conference that elected Oscar Mabuyane as provincial chair in September.

In October the losing faction, led by former chair, Premier Phumulo Masualle, lodged a complaint with the NEC, saying there was unlawfulness at the conference that elected Mabuyane’s pro-Cyril Ramaphosa structure.

The Mail & Guardian understands that NEC members who support presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have attempted to have the Eastern Cape’s conference annulled by asking that the NEC take direction from the regions.

But an NEC member told the M&G that, of the eight regions in the province, only one had called for the dissolution of the provincial executive committee (PEC).

“It’s them [Dlamini-Zuma supporters] who said: ‘Let’s go and visit the delegates from each region,’” the NEC member said. “Last Sunday, when they met the delegates from each region, there was only one region that said it must be disbanded.”

Now the matter is being referred back to the NEC, where President Jacob Zuma’s faction is likely to suffer a setback if the results of the conference are upheld.

Ramaphosa supporters are questioning why there is a push by some in the party’s top structure to disband the Eastern Cape provincial executive committee (PEC), yet no action is being taken against the pro-Dlamini-Zuma PEC in KwaZulu-Natal, which the Pietermaritzburg high court said had been unlawfully constituted.

The provincial disputes will be used as proxy battles to secure support for presidential hopefuls.

In KwaZulu-Natal, supporters of Senzo Mchunu, who appears on Ramaphosa’s slate, are seeking a declaratory order to disband the PEC, which is appealing the high court order with the NEC’s blessing.

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said that, “whenever the ANC is taken to court, it will always defend itself ”.

In the Northern Cape, disgruntled ANC members want the results of its May elective conference to be set aside amid allegations of fraud. Dlamini-Zuma supporters are contesting the election of Zamani Saul as ANC chairperson of the province, which, under his leadership, declared support for Ramaphosa.

Kodwa said the ANC would go to court to defend itself in this case too.

The party also has to resolve conflicts in the Free State, where some members have launched a court bid to have the PEC disbanded because its term has expired.

The Free State PEC is led by Ace Magashule, a known Dlamini-Zuma supporter. Should a pro-Ramaphosa PEC be put in place, it may shift the power balance in the province.

The NEC is also likely to discuss Ramaphosa’s announcement of his leadership slate last week, when he indicated that Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor would run as his deputy. The party has issued a statement condemning the act.

But one NEC member said Ramaphosa supporters would fight back if this issue is raised: “We will deal with them, because they also have their own slate and we don’t question them.”

Branch nomination disputes are also likely to feature at the NEC meeting. It is unclear how many disputes have been lodged nationally, but in KwaZulu-Natal the number is believed to range between 30 and 80 from the first two rounds of branch general meetings.

KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma pegged the number at 30, saying six were from branches that had lodged their disputes with Luthuli House directly.

He downplayed the numbers, saying he believed some had been duplicated and filed with both him and his deputy secretary.

He confirmed that ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize’s branch in Pietermaritzburg had lodged an appeal after Mkhize and his wife May were found to have been removed from the branch membership roll.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning Bruce Mngoma, the bodyguard of Msunduzi municipality speaker Jabu Ngubo was gunned down in an apparent political assassination.

Ngubo had been campaigning openly for ANC presidential outsider Mkhize for several months.

• Read the full story online at mg.co.za/Mngomakilling