North West ANC regions are becoming increasingly divided over whether to challenge in court the dissolution of the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC), with one of its biggest regions, Bojanala, calling for action against those who do so.
Earlier this month the regions sent a letter to ANC secretary general Ace Magashule stating their intention to take legal action if the disbandment of the PEC, chaired by former premier Supra Mahumapelo, was not reversed. They believe the disbandment was unlawful because it flouted the ANC constitution by failing to consult structures before the national executive committee (NEC) made a decision.
But Bojanala’s regional leaders claim they were not consulted about the letter. The region also says that the other three regions — Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Ngaka Modiri Molema — falsely claimed Bojanala stood with them.
“We were never part of it and we just heard over the news that we are part of it. And that’s why we distance ourselves from it; because we cannot agree with anybody who challenges the decision of the NEC,” said Bojanala task team co-ordinator Amos Mataboge.
ANC alliance partners, trade union federation Cosatu and the South African Communist Party in the province have also called for action to be taken against those challenging the NEC decision.
Mataboge said: “We are in the process of talking to the other regions that we should not take that route. We are in the midst of elections and this will affect us; that is our concern.”
Should the regional leaders continue with their plan, the ANC should call them to account, and they should be prepared for whatever action might be taken against them, he said.
The issue has also divided leaders in the Ngaka Modiri Molema region, with its chairperson and secretary at loggerheads. Last week, after the regions announced their intention, Ngaka Modiri Molema chairperson Justice Makolomakwe issued a statement distancing himself from it.
“As the chairperson of the Ngaka Modiri Molema regional executive committee, I appeal to ANC members to desist in taking the ANC to court [and] issuing conflicting statements against the ANC NEC,” his statement read.
But the region’s secretary, Boy Noko, said Makolomakwe had no right to distance himself from a decision that was taken with his knowledge.
“He was part of the meeting and chaired it when we discussed this matter,” Noko said.
Speaking on behalf of the three disgruntled regions, Noko said they believed there was foul play behind the disbandment of the PEC. He cautioned against continuing a pattern that often followed ANC national conferences — a new national leadership purging those who had supported a rival camp in the succession race.
The North West PEC, under the leadership of Mahumapelo, had supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over as ANC president.
Her supporters in the Bojanala region were, however, dealt a blow when supporters of President Cyril Ramaphosa successfully challenged the election of a Dlamini-Zuma sympathetic regional leadership in court. The court challenge also saw more than 30 branches, most of whom supported Dlamini-Zuma, disqualified from attending the national conference.
When Ramaphosa visited the Bojanala region last month, he was told that Mahumapelo and his allies were sabotaging the ANC’s election campaign in the province and he was asked to disband the PEC.
Noko said that if the NEC had a problem with Mahumapelo, it should have taken him alone to task and left the PEC untouched for the sake of continuity, especially so close to next year’s elections.
“Mostly they [NEC] complained about the chairperson of the province [Mahumapelo]. If he was the problem, why did they not take him for disciplinary processes? You can’t disband the province because of one person. So if comrade Supra was a problem that affects the organisation, why did they not discipline and charge him?” Noko said.
“You can’t disband the PEC when you see its term is left with five months and we are busy with the national election programme.”