Disgruntled ANC Northern Cape members march on party headquarters

2017-05-09 19:55
Luthuli House. (Supplied)

Luthuli House. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - Scores of disgruntled ANC Northern Cape members have marched on the party’s headquarters demanding to meet President Jacob Zuma in a last bid to stop the provincial elective conference.

The conference, which has been postponed on several occasions, is due to get underway on Thursday with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa giving the keynote address.

News24 understands that at least ten branch leaders representing three regions, including the largest in the province Frances Baard are on the eleventh-floor board room at Luthuli House, refusing to leave until Zuma meets with them.  

“We are going nowhere without the president giving us a hearing. He is our last hope,” one branch leader told News24 in a telephonic interview.

The group claims that flawed membership audit reports were given to Secretary General Gwede Mantashe who has given the conference the go ahead.

Another leader said that they had lost confidence in Mantashe who has visited the province on several occasions to intervene.  Branch leader Mojalefa Sethuntsha accused Mantashe of ignoring their complaints.

“We believe we have done everything we needed to do, we escalated the issues, wrote letters to the secretary general and some he acknowledged, but others he just didn’t respond to them,” Sethuntsha said.

“There hasn’t been a resolution on our dispute. Members who were not appearing on the data were excluded despite proof that they are members in good standing. There was also cloning of members who appeared in lists of more than one branch … there was just a lot of gatekeeping."

However, party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the conference will go ahead as processes were followed.   

Succession battle

“The secretary general has signed off on the report so the conference will go ahead. The guidelines have been followed and everything has been done,” Kodwa said.

Sethuntsha said they were prepared to stay at Luthuli House until Sunday if necessary, but they are not leaving until they meet Zuma.

“The reason we say we want the president is because he has no interest at the upcoming December elective conference because he won't contest. He is neutral, but Gwede has an interest in our province. He wants an outcome to advance his wish to become deputy president of the country and of the ANC," Sethuntsha said.

The Northern Cape is facing deep division with secretary Zamani Saul and premier Sylvia Lucas contesting to chair the province.

The branch leaders occupying the boardroom have accused Saul of gatekeeping - an allegation he has denied in the past.

Earlier the provincial ANC held a press conference, declaring that the conference was going ahead with the blessings of the ANC National Executive Committee deployees.

It said disputes have been resolved and only 17 nomination branch general meetings were still to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“NEC deployees to the Northern Cape presented a report on the work that they have done to address all outstanding matters flowing from the Verification Report by the Luthuli House Audit Team,” the statement said.

The fight in the province has also been linked to the ANC’s succession battle. Zamani has said he backs Ramaphosa for party president while Lucas, a member of the ANC Women’s League, was expected to back Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

 

Read more on:    anc  |  gwede mantashe  |  politics

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