ANC in regional dispute

2015-02-24 00:00

A DISPUTE over the results of the ANC’s eThekwini regional conference spilled over into the streets of Durban yesterday.

Aggrieved ANC members believe the voting system was rigged to give eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo a victory and they have dragged ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe ­into the dispute.

President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward also weighed in, calling for calm in the eThekwini region.

A letter dated February 11 claims that Mantashe turned down a request by provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala to ­allow wards 16, 30 and 74 to participate in the conference because they had failed an internal branch audit.

The conference took place with the three branches included in the voting process.

Sources believe that these three branches helped Nxumalo get 253 votes and beat his opponent Zandile ­Gumede, who got 212 votes.

A party insider, who supports ­Gumede and who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, believed that processes leading up to the conference had been flawed and called for the conference to be rerun.

“On the eve of the conference, three branches were [included], 16, 30 and 74. The provincial leadership desperately wanted these wards to be part of the conference irrespective of the audit results.

“After being rejected by the office of the secretary general, the provincial working committee convened a special meeting to undermine the audit processes by including these branches,” said the source.

“Figures released after the conference reflected that there was a 13-vote split between Zandile Gumede and James Nxumalo. The three branches brought 22 voting delegates which were confirmed to have voted for James Nxumalo,” he claimed.

In a letter sent to The Witness, Mantashe acknowledges receiving a letter from provincial secretary Zikalala asking for permission to allow the three branches to participate.

According to the letter, Mantashe said “allowing the branches to participate in the conference will set a wrong and dangerous precedent for the organisation”.

Mantashe would not be drawn to comment further on the letter. “You want me to put a face to rumours?” asked Mantashe, adding that “people who have a problem with the ANC know where to go”.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said: “There were three branches that had problems and their situation was explained at the conference and they ended up participating.”

He said hundreds of members who marched to the ANC offices yesterday were addressed by the provincial ­leadership.

“There are people complaining about processes leading up to the ­conference and the leadership is going to engage the office of the secretary general on how to deal with their ­issues,” said Zikalala.

Another party insider said: “There were two camps at the conference —the Senzo Mchunu and the James Nxumalo camps — and they have created ­divisions in the party by including the three branches.

“Senzo [Mchunu] explained at the conference that by allowing the three [branches] to participate they were ­trying to create calm but we know that is not the real reason.

“The conference needs to be rerun because the integrity of the conference has been compromised because the three branches were supporting James Nxumalo,” said the source.

Edward Zuma said: “I think ­comrades should accept defeat and work towards building unity in the region for the sake of the ANC.”

He said the ANC should come first and personalities later.

Nxumalo did not answer his phone or respond to detailed questions SMSed to him.

Zandile Gumede’s phone went to voicemail.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said the march was a peaceful one.


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