Big Mpumalanga ANC numbers questioned

2017-10-15 06:00
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File, Leon Sadiki, City Press)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File, Leon Sadiki, City Press)

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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s supporters in Mpumalanga are claiming that ANC membership numbers for the province have been inflated.

The disgruntlement of the so-called CR17 camp comes after ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe released figures last week, indicating that Mpumalanga was eligible to send 736 delegates to the party’s elective conference in December.

The CR17 group did, however, not say what the true figure was.

The latest figures catapult Mpumalanga to the status of the party’s second-largest ANC province after KwaZulu-Natal, which will send 870 delegates. A total of 4 723 delegates are expected to take part in the conference.

Mpumalanga ANC secretary Mandla Ndlovu laughed off the allegations and said the province had only managed to increase its membership by a mere 25 673 since 2012.

The membership increased from 132 729 in 2012 to 158 402 this year.

“We’re not happy with this small increase because we wanted the membership to reflect the support the ANC has in the province.”

Mpumalanga’s status as the ANC’s second-largest province serves as a boon to provincial chairperson and premier David Mabuza.

He has been leading a campaign for unity in the ANC and calling for consensus on leaders to be elected to the top six and national executive committee (NEC).

He has been in talks with chairpersons in other provinces to win them over to his unity initiative.

Those close to Mabuza, however, see no threat in Ramaphosa’s campaign.

Ramaphosa’s supporters in Nkangala, particularly in the Steve Tshwete (Middelburg) subregion and in Ehlanzeni, this week claimed they were unsure about Mabuza’s bona fides and were unhappy with how new members were recruited to make Mpumalanga the party’s second-largest region.

The CR17 supporters seemed to agree with Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) provincial chairperson Collen Sedibe’s statement that EFF members who had left the ANC were still listed as party members.

“Around February 2017, Mabuza instructed his tenderpreneurs to identify one subregion each and pay for a minimum of 1 500 members per branch.

"Within this membership, are members of the EFF who have long left the ANC, like myself, who was suspended for three years,” Sedibe said.

A CR17 campaigner in Steve Tshwete, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they wanted to dispel the impression that Mabuza was a kingmaker.

“Most of the branches were all of a sudden qualifying to send delegates to the conference.

"Even some that are in traditionally white areas, have passed the audit. We don’t support the so-called unity.”

Ramaphosa’s Ehlanzeni campaign convener, Sello Shai, said they wanted a consultative conference to discuss unity in the province.

“Identifying those with the loudest voices within the ranks of the disgruntled and among the dwellers on the periphery of politics is not unity.”

He said Mabuza’s unity project was not under threat and had been embraced by various provincial executive committees and by some self-proclaimed presidential candidates.

This week Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign teams released the lists of their candidates for senior ANC positions.

An insider close to Mabuza said: “The two lists are factional. The noble initiative of unity has to be embraced if the ANC is to survive.

“A failure to find a consensus NEC, including the top six officials, will spell doom for the ANC as there will inevitably be a split in the ANC going into the 2019 elections.”

Read more on:    anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  gwede mantashe

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