ANC infighting over axing of election boss

2013-10-03 00:00

SOME ANC members in the eThekwini region are refusing to accept a decision taken by provincial leadership to axe their regional secretary, Bheki Ntshan­gase, from his position as election co-ordinator.

Ntshangase was removed last month after the ANC failed to win the recent by-election in Ward 33 in Glenwood. The ward was held by the DA and became vacant after their councillor Warwick Chapman resigned.

The DA retained the ward with 86,97% of the votes, defeating the ANC and NFP.

Ntshangase’s supporters are crying foul — especially as the ANC was never expected to win Ward 33. They fear that Ntshangase’s removal was the beginning of a purge in eThekwini, which is the biggest region for the ruling party in the country with 103 branches.

Sources say a series of meetings had been held at branch level concerning developments in the region.

“Ntshangase is being unfairly treated because the province wants to control the resources of the eThekwini municipality,” said an insider.

Text messages, shown to The Witness, have been doing the rounds among branch members, questioning why members remain quiet while the ANC provincial leadership systematically puts the region “under administration”.

A source, privy to ANC squabbles, told The Witness that Ntshangase’s removal as election co-ordinator was only the beginning.

“There are more to come. If Ntshangase was removed based on the outcome of the recent by by-election in Ward 33, that decision was really unfounded. Traditionally, we all know that we have never won that ward.”

It emerged in the secretive meetings that a number of accusations against Ntshangase were made by some of his senior regional leaders.

Branches against Ntshangase’s removal want him to continue with his responsibilities. ANC provincial spokesperson Senzo Mkhize said the removal of Ntshangase was an internal matter. He said the ANC had no idea that branches in the region were unhappy about the move.

“Look, I’m not going to give reasons for the ANC’s decision. If those people concerned about the issue are members of the ANC, they should be able to come to us. We cannot answer matters of the ANC in the media.”

Political analyst Protas Madlala said the unhappiness over the Ntshangase decision should be regarded as the test for ANC provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu. “Mchunu is experiencing a baptism of fire.”

Madlala said tension between the ANC region and the province had been going on for years.

“I anticipated an increase in tensions when former chairperson Zweli Mkhize left. He was a very strong person and was respected by ANC members. And he managed to deal with factions. Factionalism is problematic in the ANC. And Mchu­nu was nominated by a faction, but he must rise above all that and stop the infighting.”

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