ANC provincial conference delayed on claims of fraud

2011-10-01 16:33

A watershed ANC Mpumalanga regional conference that could influence the ­future of Premier David Mabuza was postponed amid mounting claims of membership fraud.

The postponement of the Ehlanzeni conference this week follows a revolt by branches in the past few months. Their members have marched to the provincial ANC head offices in Nelspruit demanding corrective action.

Mpumalanga has three regional ­conferences set to take place this month in Ehlanzeni, Gert Sibande and Bohlabela. The fourth region, Nkangala, held its conference last year already.

These conferences will be crucial in determining whether provincial chairperson and premier Mabuza retains his position next year.

Ehlanzeni is Mabuza’s region and he needs its support to show that he is in control.

But Ehlanzeni branch members met ANC provincial deputy chairperson Charles Makola, secretary Lucky Ndinisa and Ehlanzeni regional secretary Pat Ngomane on September 6 to complain that Mabuza’s alleged foot soldiers were causing chaos reminiscent of councillor nomination processes that caused a violent protest in Ermelo before the municipal elections in May.

During that meeting, and in confidential discussions with City Press this week, members from various branches complained that:
» Ngomane was withholding audited membership records;
» Branches were being launched fraudulently in order to isolate anti-Mabuza lobbyists who were also not invited to meetings;

» Anti-Mabuza supporters’ names were deleted from membership lists; and

» Pro-Mabuza members who are not in good standing were being bused from one branch meeting to the next to ­influence decisions.

“We gave evidence to Luthuli House about the manipulation of councillor nominations processes, but nothing was done. It’s also unlikely that something will be done about these complaints now,” said a branch member.

“Luthuli House listens to the same ­culprits and does nothing. Who can tell us what happened to the task team’s investigation (led by national deputy secretary Thandi Modise) on the faction fighting in the province? Nothing came of it,” one member said.

Provincial ANC spokesperson Paul Mbenyane confirmed that the branches had complained to the province but were referred back to the region.

“We believe they’ve resolved those ­issues. Ngomane hasn’t given us a report because he’s busy organising the conference. We can’t hide the fact that the branches have been complaining a lot,” Mbenyane said.

The Mabuza camp’s victory in Ehlanzeni will strengthen his chances for a ­second term. But disillusioned branches in all four regions want Mabuza ousted in favour of his deputy Makola, health MEC Clifford Mkasi or legislature member Fish Mahlalela.

The reasons given are rampant corruption in the Mpumalanga government, violations of ANC principles and alienation of leaders with differing views.

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