ANC report: Activists hopeful

2012-11-21 00:00

UMGUNGUNDLOVU District could face a flurry of by-elections as ANC councillors who were irregularly nominated are removed.

This is the fervent hope of local party activists who staged a month-long protest in 2011 over fraud and manipulation in the nomination process of councillors. Although the activists have not yet seen the full report of the task team led by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma into the process, they are encouraged by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe’s summary of the report.

Activist Sibongile Mkhize said she has been feeling elated since learning about some of the findings of the task team. She said when the team visited the Moses Mabhida region, the protesting activists gave them a detailed report on the manipulation of lists. There were even allegations of councillors buying their seats.

“People suddenly appeared on the lists who had never been in the ANC before. I remember I had to sit through the night sifting through all the lists and writing detailed reports to give to the task team investigators,” she said.

There could be as many as 37 problematic appointments in the 84 wards of the district municipality, she said. She believes that out of these 37, there could be as many as 22 by-elections.

Mkhize added that they were told they would be given the full report on the Moses Mabhida region, which will contain specific recommendations and these will be dealt with by the new National Executive Committee (NEC) after the Mangaung conference.

“We are patient, we are prepared to wait for this to happen and in the meantime we feel vindicated that our protest was not in vain,” said Mkhize.

The Witness has had sight of the draft report presented by Mantashe. In it there is reference to the Moses Mabhida region, which the report described as beset by challenges, such as sit-ins at the regional offices by aggrieved comrades. The team said the majority of complaints were from Moses Mabhida and the eThekwini regions. These disputes related to alleged irregularities and manipulation of the list processes by branch and regional leaders.

There were also cases of gate keeping, bulk buying of membership and sidelining of members.

In its general observations, the task team recommended that the ANC’s NEC should review it’s current membership system. The team noted that during the investigation it came across many ANC branches run by unemployed members who looked up to the ward councillor for employment. “For this reason in many branches the centre of power has shifted from the branch to the ward councillors,” the report said.

It also noted that patronage was manifest in the branch processes.

“It was apparent in certain instances that people from outside the organisation exerted undue pressure and influence on members … to choose certain candidates who would facilitate for them to get tenders and other business opportunities.”

Among the many recommendations by the team there is a call for healing programmes to be developed and implemented to promote tolerance in branches.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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