Voting roll jousting as JZ fans vie with ABZs

2012-11-10 00:00

ACCUSATIONS of vote-rigging have dogged two failed attempts so far to hold general meetings of the ANC’s Lamontville, Durban, branch, with sources saying there seem to be attempts to sideline members who are opposed to party president Jacob Zuma.

At branch general meetings (BGMs), party leaders are nominated and delegates chosen to attend the ANC’s national elective conference in Mangaung in December.

The first BGM of the Lamontville branch two weeks ago collapsed when the names of suspected supporters of the Anyone But Zuma (ABZ) camp were left off the voters’ roll. This resulted in a series of meetings to settle the dispute. One of those left out was branch member and former national police commissioner Bheki Cele. As a result of the meetings, Cele’s name and those of 83 other branch members were added to the voters’ roll.

The second meeting, held on Thursday, also collapsed, this time because 200 new names were added to the roll. Branch members, who declined to be named because they are not authorised to speak to the media, blamed eThekwini regional secretary Bheki Ntshangase for the debacle, alleging that the new names were added to counter the ABZ supporters who had been reinstated on the roll.

They were also angry that the region had decided to hold the Lamontville branch’s annual general meeting and the BGM together, alleging this was done to bring in the new members.

Thursday’s meeting was reported to have disintegrated into such chaos that police used teargas to restore order. The ANC sent provincial executive committee member Ravi Pillay to address the matter. Contacted yesterday, Pillay said he was unaware of teargas being used and would not be drawn into answering questions on the nature of the dispute.

All he would say was that there was a dispute over the voters’ roll and the two meetings held. By yesterday no new date had been set for the third attempt at holding a BGM. Ntshangase, who would set the date for the new meeting, could not be reached.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said the meeting had ended peacefully and that police officers were not aware that teargas had been used.

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