Gigaba ‘wanted to expel us from ANC’

2011-11-19 16:57

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba allegedly threatened to expel Mpumalanga ANC members from the ­party when they complained about fraud and corruption at a regional conference.

Gert Sibande region branch members say ­Gigaba colluded with supporters of Premier David Mabuza. Mabuza is vying for a second term as provincial chairperson next year.

Branch members claim ­Gigaba, a Mpumalanga national executive committee (NEC) deployee, was biased ­towards Mabuza allies when he ­ordered that the conference continue despite irregularities, including membership fraud, at the conference four weeks ago.

Provincial safety and security MEC Vusi Shongwe, a Mabuza ­ally, was controversially re-elected as chairperson, and the results tightened Mabuza’s grip on power.

He now has backing from three of Mpumalanga’s four regions. Delegates told City Press that Shongwe’s group controlled all the conference logistics and stifled their rivals.

ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola was denied entry and had to push his way past security guards to support league provincial chairperson Kgotso Motloung against Shongwe.

Disgruntled branches had complained and objected about membership fraud to provincial secretary Lucky Ndinisa before the conference.

But they received no feedback when the conference – which ­included branches that were never audited – took place. But Gigaba agreed with the Mabuza camp that the conference should continue. Ndinisa was not present as he was in China.

“It’s clear Gigaba was carrying a mandate to deliver the conference to Mabuza,” said a Youth League member. “They flawed all processes and he participated in the credentials process even though his role was oversight.”

City Press has 33 ­copies of the disputes from branches in Ermelo, Carolina, Piet Retief, Secunda, Standerton and Volksrust. They indicate that Mabuza supporters used underhand tactics to manipulate branch general meetings by:

» Removing members in good standing who backed Motloung, which included legislature police portfolio committee chairperson Sindi Chikunga as his deputy and Bongani Phakathi as treasurer. Phakathi’s exclusion from councillors’ nomination lists in February caused week-long riots in ­Ermelo;

» Hiding information that enough branches had nominated Motloung and company to stand. A candidate needs nomination from five branches to be eligible to contest;

» Legitimising branch meetings that did not reach a quorum to ­exclude Mabuza’s opponents and inviting only those who supported the premier; and

» Forging members’ signatures on attendance registers for branch general meetings that didn’t happen.

Said a ­Msukaligwa branch member: “Everything about the conference was just wrong. The disputes were never ­resolved and branches that may not have passed the audit had sent voting delegates to the conference.”

Another disgruntled member said: “Gigaba and certain provincial executive committee members were against us. We were threatened with expulsion for suggesting that the conference be postponed.”

Mpumalanga ANC spokesperson Paul Mbenyane said: “We promised that those outstanding issues would be dealt with after the conference. We won’t restart conferences as they were incident-free with no toyi-toying members. They must now work with us to implement our programmes.”

Spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete said the minister would not participate in “gutter politics”.  “If one is even slightly familiar with the process and procedures you’d know that a (sic) NEC ­deployee doesn’t convene conferences, nor does he vet delegates,” he said.

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