Anti-Zuma leaders purged one by one in Eastern Cape

2013-10-20 14:01

A cold war is raging in the Eastern Cape ANC ahead of next year’s general elections, and the first casualties are those who opposed President Jacob Zuma before the party’s leadership conference in Mangaung.

Pro-Zuma supporters in the party’s provincial driving seat are purging those believed to oppose the current leadership and the axe is falling on them one by one.

The latest victims include:

» OR Tambo regional ANC chairperson and former Mhlontlo municipality mayor Thandekile Sabisa, who was removed last week. Sabisa was demoted to the deputy mayorship of OR Tambo District Municipality. He was a vocal supporter of presidential hopeful Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and led his failed bid in the Eastern Cape;

» Dingaan Myolwa was sacked as OR Tambo mayor last week. A known anti-Zuma figure, he accepted nomination at the ANC provincial conference in June against a Zuma line-up and is known to have quietly backed Motlanthe before Mangaung;

» Another anti-Zuma leader, Funeka Dondashe, was also recently sacked as speaker of the King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality in Mthatha and was replaced with Zuma loyalist Dumani Zozo;

» Mcedisi Notsele, a Motlanthe man, was sacked earlier this year as executive mayor of Lukhanji Local Municipality and demoted to the position of portfolio head at the Chris Hani District Municipality; and

» Ntombovuyo Nkopane, the former mayor of Matatiele Local Municipality, another anti-Zuma leader, was also sacked earlier this year.

Speaking of the recent “deployments” in a statement last week, ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane said: “These measures have been necessitated by the ongoing imperative to improve the capacity and capability of these entities to serve our communities better.

“We appreciated the efforts and sacrifices made by all affected in these changes and of course that their ongoing contribution will still benefit our organisation, albeit in different areas of work.”

The ANC Youth League in the province, who were among Motlanthe’s most vocal supporters, are also facing the chop, having been disbanded by the youth league’s national task team.

They have asked for the intervention of the party’s top six, led by Zuma, but it looks unlikely that he will spare them after they opposed him. A decision by the top six, who were in the province on Sunday to hear the matter, is still pending.

Political analyst Steven Friedman said purging in the ANC was extensive, and those who supported the losers in Mangaung would continue to be purged to make way for Zuma loyalists.

“You must remember that people like Tokyo Sexwale and Cassel Mathale are no longer around because they supported the losers in Mangaung,” he said.

“Those who are still around will be purged now, and even after the elections, because those who supported Zuma would want to be rewarded.”

He said the situation was so dire it created a possibility of a split, where those who had fallen out of favour will see no point in sticking around.

“Those who voted for the losers in Mangaung might ask themselves why they should stay when they don’t have positions or a future in the organisation (the ANC) and decide to split and form their own organisation. That might not happen now, but it might still happen in the near future,” said Friedman.

Mabuyane played down the purging issue. “That might be the view of certain people, but certainly in the ANC there is no purging. It might seem that way, when in actual fact it’s just mere coincidence,” he said.

He said some of those who were removed had been given time, in some cases over a year, to get their houses in order and the ANC had to act when they failed to do so.

“All these interventions are necessary ... People serve in the ANC on request. They are not entitled to those positions and they are subject to scrutiny.”

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