ANC in Mpumalanga bans attacks on Facebook

2015-04-05 15:00

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Mpumalanga ANC members must shut up or face expulsion for taking their frustrations to social and mainstream media. The gagging order is one of the resolutions delegates took at the ANC’s provincial general council (PGC) last weekend.

They were responding to the media launch of Operation Save Mpumalanga ANC – an attempt to prevent Premier David Mabuza from being elected to another term as provincial ANC chairperson.

In the eyes of his rivals, Mabuza’s leadership has been factional and corrosive to the democratic principles of the party. Disenchanted members have been slamming the ANC leadership, particularly Mabuza, on Facebook.

They blame him for the deteriorating state of the party in the province and the disunity and bad blood between the SA Communist Party and ANC leadership, which led to bloody violence between the parties’ members at KaNyamazane in January.

Mabuza’s rivals went public with the campaign when it became clear the delegates had been instructed to pass the resolution to assure Mabuza of a third term in office.

The idea was first mooted by the four regional ANC chairpersons in November last year when they were defending Mabuza against allegations that he could have been an apartheid spy.

The third-term resolution forces members to abide by it – whether they like it or not – when the elective provincial conference sits in October. It also closes the space for any challenger to the position.

The disaffected members complained that no branch general meetings had taken place to nominate delegates to the council. They said the regional executive committees hand-picked malleable delegates to pass the resolution.

Mpumalanga ANC secretary Lucky Ndinisa said the Operation Save Mpumalanga ANC campaign “triggered” the gagging order discussion at the PGC.

“We said we need to desist from making statements that bring the organisation into disrepute. The resolution was taken in the spirit that the Operation Save Mpumalanga ANC comrades must be called to order?… anything that brings the organisation into disrepute must be corrected through disciplinary processes,” he said.

“All those people must be identified and dealt with. People have been expelled from their jobs and someone is under police investigation for making a comment about [a plot to kill late public service and administration minister Collins Chabane] on Facebook.”

Campaign leader Sipho Monareng said the drive would go ahead despite the resolution and threats of expulsion.

“This resolution reflects the kind of delegates who were at the PGC. They were told what to say and they don’t know that we don’t talk about terms in the ANC?… certain processes have to be followed for candidates to be nominated to stand in elections,” said Monareng.

He said the provincial executive committee (PEC) would have to be charged for not giving members the space to raise issues.

“Dealing with the symptoms means [the ANC] will charge all of us, including the PEC, for not allowing comrades the space to deal with issues on the correct platform, including but not limited to organising a fraudulent PGC,” he added.

A former confidant of Mabuza, who has resorted to attacking him on Facebook, said the premier’s allies should also be disciplined.

“ANC divisions start on social media. The third-term campaign started on Facebook and that will have to be explained,” he said.

The resolution comes several years after Mabuza became the target of Facebook attacks.

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