Western Cape ANC leaders at odds

2015-07-26 17:00
The ANC’s newly elected Western Cape secretary, Faiez Jacobs, and chair Marius Fransman speak to the media in Cape Town on Tuesday afternoon. PHOTO: Lindile Mbontsi

The ANC’s newly elected Western Cape secretary, Faiez Jacobs, and chair Marius Fransman speak to the media in Cape Town on Tuesday afternoon. PHOTO: Lindile Mbontsi

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Less than a month after the newly elected Western Cape ANC leadership pledged unity and promised to revitalise the organisation ahead of local government elections next year, it seems to be unravelling.

In a personal tit for tat exchange of letters, divisions within the provincial structure have emerged.

In an exchange of letters that City Press has seen, a member of the ANC’s provincial executive committee is accused of telling ANC national executive committee member Nomvula Mokonyane that the Western Cape ANC would not support President Jacob Zuma at the national general council later this year.

In correspondence with provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs after the unveiling of the Clanwilliam Dam Project, Danville Smith, the treasurer of the ANC in the west coast region, accuses provincial executive committee member Magdalene Titus of supporting moves to oust Zuma at the national general council.

In his letter of complaint, Smith wrote that Titus told Mokonyane that the newly elected Western Cape provincial executive committee was going to support a process to have Zuma removed at the national general council.

Smith accuses Titus of further stating to Mokonyane that communities were unhappy with Zuma and that even some structures don’t want the president. According to Smith’s letter, Mokonyane reprimanded Titus for her remarks.

“I cannot recall or remember that this matter or the position articulated was discussed in any of our branches, regional conference or provincial conference,” wrote Smith.

Titus subsequently denied this in a letter, saying she never spoke about the removal of the president.

However, she confirmed that she had told Mokonyane “some communities are very unhappy with our president and I even suggested that the president should visit those communities”.

“I then also suggested that if the president and the ANC do not engage with those communities directly, we might lose support in the next local government elections.

“I would, however, insist that this discussion was private, personal and between the minister and I. To support this claim, the conversation was even whispered,” she wrote.

“The complainant chose to report selectively on what he heard through eavesdropping as he was not part of the discussion and portrayed the discussion as about a single matter while it was varied,” wrote Titus, adding that her comments were not made from the stage through a microphone but were presented in a private political discussion.

This comes as the political grapevine is abuzz with rumours of a fallout between Jacobs and his boss, provincial chairperson Marius Fransman, with ANC sources claiming that the relationship between them was strained to a point that Jacobs – and provincial treasurer Maurencia Gillion – did not attend a meeting of the ANC’s top five provincial officials this week.

Jacobs, however, told City Press that he did not attend the meeting because he was ill.

Jacobs said there was no truth to the allegations that he was fighting with Fransman, adding that the differences between them were “minor” and “not ideological”.

“We are working together with Comrade Marius to build the ANC and to bring unity to the ANC in this province. We were in Matzikamma yesterday, where the ANC won the by-election,” he said on Thursday morning.

Jacobs added that the group of diverse people who were recently elected were still trying to find each other.

Fransman could not be reached for comment.

Smith, who wrote the letter complaining about the provincial executive committee member’s comments to Mokonyane, confirmed authoring the letter when City Press contacted him for comment, but refused to discuss its contents, saying it was an internal matter.

Titus told City Press that she had always supported Zuma and the national executive committee and had canvassed for this leadership both at the ANC’s Mangaung and Polokwane conferences.

“I will oppose any attempts to replace the president at any national general council and will even consider supporting him even if he is available for a third term as ANC president,” she said.

“The insinuation and lies spread are hurtful, but what did we expect from people who lost the conference and are now motivated by bitterness, hatred and jealousy?”

Titus explained that as a councillor who works in communities in the southern Cape, some of these communities and supporters were concerned about Nkandla and some of them threatened to withhold their support from the ANC in the local government elections.
Read more on:    nomvula mokonyane

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