/ 15 August 2019

Search for new ANC leaders in Western Cape a delicate matter

In the May elections
In the May elections, the ANC got 28.5% of the vote, down from 32.9% in 2014. (David Harrison/M&G)



In a bid for unity in the perpetually crisis-plagued ANC in the Western Cape, party leaders at the national level have proposed that a task team made up of veterans and fresh activists be established to rebuild the party in the province.

Two weeks ago, the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) disbanded the provincial executive committee for, among other reasons, in-fighting and a disastrous 2019 provincial elections campaign. In the May elections, the ANC got 28.5% of the vote, down from 32.9% in 2014.

The ANC has also not had a permanent provincial chairperson since 2016, when Marius Fransman was suspended on sexual misconduct charges. When the provincial executive committee was disbanded the ANC said in a statement: “The NEC expressed concern on the functioning of the provincial executive committee in the Western Cape, whose growing internal disintegration turned to play itself out in the public, making it difficult for the PEC to discharge its duties.”

Former provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs said leadership elections were to have been held in June but, because of the proximity to the May polls, they were postponed. They may now be held in December.

A list of names for the 30-member provincial task team has been circulated in the national working committee (NEC). It includes former premiers Ebrahim Rasool and Lynne Brown, former provincial secretaries Jacobs and Songezo Mjongile, former speaker of the provincial legislature (and former ambassador to Syria) Shaun Byneveldt, and current ANC legislature caucus leader Cameron Dugmore. Other prominent names are the former head of the Hawks, Anwar Dramat, and the former provincial head of the justice department, Hishaam Mohamed.

One provincial ANC insider said the NEC will be careful to maintain a balance between so-called coloured and black African task team members. “If you put Faiez there you’ll offend one group. If you put in [former acting provincial chairperson] Khaya [Magaxa] you’ll offend another group. ”

The NEC has proposed that former ANC MP Lerumo Kalako and Boland regional leader Chrissie Brink co-ordinate the task team.

The question is: Who will emerge as the frontrunner for the top position of chairperson in a newly elected provincial executive committee when elections are held later this year?

A party insider said: “Cameron [Dugmore] has made no secret that he wants the job. And that suits other people because now they can also start putting up their hands.”

Another candidate seemingly in the running is Byneveldt. “Don’t take this as him coming out of the blue,” the source said. “During the May elections he was pushing out statements. Shaun has been campaigning for some time now,” the source said.

ANC insiders say there’s a move to return Rasool to the post. But he apparently did not see eye to eye with the provincial executive when he headed the May elections.