Protest over ANC ‘mafia’

2011-05-31 00:00

ANC members in wards within the Msunduzi Municipality claim that the party’s Moses Mabhida regional executive committee (REC), based in Pietermaritzburg, are a “mafia” who have divided the ruling party and they want the REC and branches disbanded immediately.

About 70 ANC members calling themselves the “activists’ forum” staged a sit-in at the party’s regional offices in Jabu Ndlovu Street from about 9 am yesterday, saying they would sleep there until the provincial ANC addresses their grievances.

One of their complaints is that the top REC members — chairperson and former uMngeni mayor Edward Dladla, treasurer and former Msunduzi speaker Alpha Shelembe, secretary Supa Zuma and his deputy, Nonhlanhla Msomi —have put their names high on the proportional representative (PR) lists in Msunduzi and uMgungundlovu District municipalities.

The forum wants Thobani Zuma, an Msunduzi councillor, to be removed, allegedly for working with the REC.

Dladla. Msomi and Supa Zuma fill the top three position on the district list, while Shelembe is nine on the Msunduzi list and Thobani Zuma is number one.

Other complaints are that the “mafia”: imposed councillors on communities ahead of the May 18 elections and were driving factionalism within the party; were playing a role in the near collapse of councils such as Msunduzi; and were controlling the awarding of contracts and manipulating party membership.

Activists’ forum members who declined to be named claimed the REC members, whose term will be up in July, put themselves on the lists as an exit strategy.

They alleged that the REC members mobilised their supporters to vote for the Democratic Alliance in wards where the ANC candidates were not of their choice.

Former Msunduzi executive committee (Exco) member Sibongile Mkhize said REC members put their names on the PR list to be in line for the top council positions of mayor, deputy mayor, speaker and chief whip or Exco membership, which are all better paid than ordinary council seats.

The REC picks candidates for the top positions in all seven municipalities in the district, including the district council, and submits them to the provincial executive committee (PEC).

They alleged that the delay in naming the Msunduzi mayor arises from their manoeuvring.

“We are tired of this mafia REC … We want them removed because they are dividing the ANC … How can they occupy high-ranking positions at municipalities and be on the REC, to which councillors are accountable?” asked one.

Briefing the media yesterday, the forum members said they staged a sit-in in February over similar grievances and were told the PEC would investigate, but they have heard nothing.

They called for a swift investigation of alleged manipulation of ANC candidate lists, as promised by ANC president Jacob Zuma.

On Sunday ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said that the national executive committee has set up a team to conduct the investigation.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the province will meet the protesters and listen to their concerns, but he would not comment beforehand. He said the appointment of mayors is handled by the ANC’s deployment committee and the candidates are not discussed outside the committee.

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