ANC's political solution to 'festival of chairs' conference described as a farce

The ANC's political solution for the Eastern Cape has been described as a farce and as unacceptable by some of the province's regions.

On Monday, some branch members and regional leaders travelled to the party's Luthuli House headquarters to register their grievances over a decision by the national executive committee (NEC) to set aside a report into the violent provincial conference, dubbed the "festival of chairs", in which members used chairs to attack each other.

In April, the NEC opted to seek a political solution to the impasse between the new provincial executive committee (PEC), under the leadership of Oscar Mabuyane, and those who favoured former provincial chairperson Phumulo Masualle's failed bid for a second term.

These factions were further fuelled by the fight for the control of the ANC, which culminated in Cyril Ramaphosa defeating Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become the ANC's president and South Africa's head of state.

"We don't understand the meaning of a political solution. They must just be straightforward and disband this PEC," said ANC member Ndoda Mesani, who hails from the Amathole region of the Eastern Cape.

The grouping, also made up of members from the Joe Xabi and Nelson Mandela Bay regions, said it was saddened by the NEC's decision not to implement Sbu Ndebele's report. He led the investigation into the so-called festival of chairs and is believed to have called for the current PEC to be disbanded and for the conference to be rerun.

The group lists several issues which they want resolved. These include the implementation of Ndebele's report, a dissolution of the Eastern Cape PEC, the destabilisation of the Eastern Cape government and that members they claim had killed municipalities in the once influential province within the party be dealt with.

"National officials, please don't put the Eastern Cape matter under the carpet," pleaded Mesani.

He told News24 that members of the PEC were "shuffling" councillors in municipalities and pushing out those who supported the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma campaign ahead of the ANC's watershed conference.

It is understood the group's complaints were received by ANC secretary general Ace Magashule.

Party spokesperson Pule Mabe could not immediately be reached for comment.

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