/ 1 June 2018

‘Ghost’ branches, municipal capture ‘threatens’ ANC in Mpumalanga

(Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)
(Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

Disaffected Mpumalanga ANC members want the party’s national leadership to dissolve its provincial executive committee (PEC) and call a general council meeting to elect new leaders.

The group, led by Ronnie Malomane and five others, say they will go to court if the ANC’s national dispute resolution committee (NDRC), to which they earlier this month presented a dossier on “ghost’’ ANC branches and corruption in the province, fails to act.

Malomane, a former campaign manager for Mathews Phosa’s fruitless ANC presidential bid last year, said this week the group believed that a failure to elect new leaders would see the party go “down the drain in Mpumalanga”.

He said the dossier included corruption in the Nkomazi local municipality and other areas and information about the “cloning” of 34 branches in the Ehlanzeni district municipality.

“Because of this gatekeeping, the ANC is dying in Mpumalanga. For every branch that is registered there is a cloned branch. There is terrible corruption in local government. People talk about state capture — here we have municipal capture,” Malomane said.

“We will wait for the NDRC first. If nothing comes in our favour, with the evidence we have, we have a winnable case and we are going to court with it. We told them what we are going to do,” he said.

He said the current situation — with provincial secretary Mandla Ndlovu acting as chairperson after being “anointed” by David Mabuza, the former Mpumalanga premier and now deputy president — was a recipe for disaster for the ANC in Mpumalanga with elections approaching next year.

Malomane and his colleagues — Sello Shai, Mantlhakeng Mahlangu, Johan Sibiya, Musi Skosana and Fanie Sithole — went public about the dispute last month after “exhausting” internal ANC channels.

They said at the time that the province had more than 3 500 bogus members and that this had influenced the outcome of the last provincial conference, at which the current PEC was elected. “We are saying, let the special council come and we will contest it and see how to revive the ANC in Mpumalanga. The best outcome will be for the PEC to be dissolved and a task team put in place to run the council,” Malomane said.

He said the killing of a former Umkhonto weSizwe member at the Gert Sibande ANC Youth League (ANCYL) regional conference over the weekend was linked to the contestation in the province.

“What is happening in the mother body is happening in the ANCYL. Over the weekend three regions did not sit and one person was killed. This is the result of gatekeeping in the province. People are no longer interested in supporting this. People have woken up. People can see what is happening here is wrong and unprincipled,’’ he said.

Malomane said the appointment of people in acting positions had become the norm in Mpumalanga. “This has to end. We cannot go into elections led by acting people,’’ he said.

Ndlovu did not respond to calls from the Mail & Guardian at the time of writing.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the rerun of the November 2015 provincial conference will take place from June  8 to June  10, dates that were set by the national executive committee (NEC) at its meeting over the May 26 weekend. The rerun was ordered by the Pietermaritzburg high court in September but appeals by the ousted PEC, led by current co-ordinator Sihle Zikalala, resulted in a delay in the appointment of a NEC-supervised task team to oversee the rerun.

Representatives of branches supportive of former chairperson Senzo Mchunu, including Abaqulusi councillor Lawrence Dube, had challenged the outcome.

Last weekend, Dube was elected to the Abaqulusi regional executive committee along with one of his fellow applicants, Nongoma ANC councillor Lindiwe Buthelezi, in a clean sweep by supporters of President Cyril Ramaphosa. The result, which gave Zikalala’s supporters five seats on the 26-member regional executive committee, is a boost to the Ramaphosa camp, which has been struggling to consolidate its support.

Two regions, Moses Mabhida and Harry Gwala, are likely to go to conference without having elected a regional leadership because they have been told to halt conference preparations as a result of the ongoing political killings in both regions. It is not clear yet whether their branches, most of which are supportive of Zikalala, will be able to attend.