Ex-uMshwathi councillor says ANC leaders conspired to oust him

2017-11-15 13:58
Former ANC councillor candidate Ramesh Mungroo.

Former ANC councillor candidate Ramesh Mungroo. (Clive Ndou)

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As ANC internal leadership nomination processes remain in the spotlight, a former uMshwathi councillor candidate has spilled the beans on how ANC leaders allegedly conspired to replace legitimate candidates with their pals.

Ramesh Mungroo, who was an ANC councillor candidate during last year’s elections, had run a successful campaign in his home town of Dalton, outside Pietermaritzburg.

“There were wild celebrations after the results were announced as the community that had backed me wished me well in my role as their councillor,” he said.

However, Mungroo’s joy was short-lived as the ANC’s Moses Mabhida regional leadership a short while later invited him to a meeting in Pietermaritzburg.

“I thought that maybe the leadership wanted to congratulate me. However, I was taken aback when they handed me a resignation letter to sign,” he said.

The letter, which The Witness has seen, informs the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) that Mungroo was resigning as a councillor with immediate effect.

“The regional leaders, who told me they were acting on ANC instructions, said they would take up the matter with the regional executive committee (REC) and ensure that I was reappointed as a councillor as soon as possible.

“I wanted to object but was scared as councillors were being shot left, right and centre at the time.”

A year later, Mangroo is yet to hear from the regional leadership.

“I later discovered that I was replaced with a certain Sphindile Mbhele, who had not been voted in as a municipality councillor at the elections,” he said.

ANC regional leaders subsequently endorsed Mbhele as the mayor of the uMshwathi Local Municipality — a position she still holds.

“As a person who has done so much for the ANC, I feel betrayed. I respected the leadership until they started to do all the wrong things,” Mangroo said.

He spoke about his “illegal” axing as the current ANC presidential nomination processes at branches lay bare weaknesses within the ruling party’s internal processes.

Claims of massive corruption have emerged as ANC branches across the country hold their branch general meetings (BGMs) to nominate presidential candidates ahead of the party’s national conference next month.

In KwaZulu-Natal alone, ANC members from about 100 branches have lodged disputes after claiming that there have been irregularities during branch nomination processes.

Former AU chairperson Nkosa­zana Dlamini-Zuma and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa are front-runners in the race to succeed Jacob Zuma, who will be stepping down as ANC leader at the conference.

The aggrieved ANC members are accusing ruling party leaders of, among other things, removing the names of legitimate branch members whom they suspect of backing rival candidates.

“All these things which people are complaining about are not just rumours, they are happening. The ANC has been taken over by unprincipled people who stop at nothing to retain power,” said Mangroo, who had previously been an uMshwathi councillor for 10 years.

ANC Moses Mabhida regional spokesperson Spha Khumalo said the party was concerned over claims by Mungroo pertaining to its internal processes. “As the ANC we don’t think it is appropriate for us to deal with internal matters through the media,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  anc kzn

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