Mixed feelings about Zuma's intervention in eThekwini

2015-05-21 19:30
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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Durban - There has been mixed reaction from branches in the eThekwini region, with some saying that the intervention from ANC’s top brass this week was much needed, while others said they have been left out in the cold.

President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as the ANC president, and members of the National Executive Committee - including, Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, chairperson Baleka Mbete, treasurer general Zweli Mkhize and deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte - on Tuesday met with the provincial leadership to deal with internal organisational issues plaguing the province.

After a long meeting with members of the PEC, Zuma postponed a scheduled meeting with branches citing that “the region had more problems than he realised”, and that he would return to deal with their issues.

The party said a date for the next meeting would be announced at a later stage.

The eThekwini region has been marred by controversy after it failed to convene a successful regional conference. EThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo and councillor Zandile Gumede are in the race for the highly contested position of regional chair.

The eThekwini conference, which was scheduled to convene for the fourth time, was adjourned indefinitely earlier this month after disgruntled members, believed to be in Gumede's faction, disrupted proceedings.

Chairperson of the ANC Youth League in the eThekwini region, Amanda Bani, said she was pleased that the president took time to "personally" deal with the eThekwini region.

“We want his intervention to be thorough because the problems faced by eThekwini are serious. We are happy that he did not just end the meeting without delving into the problems that may cause serious problems in the future. We are happy that he is coming back to deal with the issues,” said Bani.

She was one of many ANC members who met with the ANC’s top six on Tuesday.

“The president told us the reason why he postponed the meeting was because he wanted to have more time to engage with his colleagues in the NEC about what the PEC reported.

Bani said she didn’t believe that eThekwini had reached crisis level.

“I admit we have an abnormal situation in eThekwini right now. Branches in the region hold different views and just because we disagree on some things does not mean we are in a crisis.”

A branch leader in the eThekwini region, who asked not to be named, was upset that branches arrived at the Durban City Hall at 14:00 anticipating to be addressed by the president, only to be told later that it was cancelled.

“On Tuesday I think they realised that eThekwini had more problems than they thought. The president didn’t give us a chance to respond or comment on some of the issues that are facing the region and the province,” he said.  

“The president said the party was in no hurry to issue a date for the rerun of the conference. He said even if the conference sits, the problems will still be there.”

He said the communication between branches in the eThekwini region had become hostile.

“Another issue that was not even addressed was the issue facing the Lower South Coast.”

Tom Madlala, the branch treasurer of the Lower South Coast region, said branches went to the City Hall on Tuesday because they wanted to address their leaders, but instead they waited outside until 20:00, only to be told that Mantashe would visit the region some other time. 

“We wrote a letter to secretary general Gwede Mantashe informing him about our conference that took place in November last year. The letter was appealing processes that took place at the conference. Basically it's  a similar thing to what happened in the eThekwini conference. 

“We still haven’t received a response about our matter and it is clear to us that eThekwini is more important to the ANC than other regions,” said Madlala.  

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  durban  |  local government  |  politics

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