Frail ties threaten to hobble the ANC

2018-06-17 06:04
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

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Cyril Ramaphosa will once again be in the unenviable position of proving that he is president of the ANC and not just of those who supported him as warring factions prepare to draw blood at a special national executive council (NEC) sitting tomorrow.

As the battle for control of provinces rages on, the party’s highest decision-making body will sit and determine the immediate fate of key provinces. These include North West, where the NEC must decide on the next premier, and KwaZulu-Natal, where intractable fights led to the collapse of the provincial conference last weekend.

A decision will have to be made on whether to hold off the KwaZulu-Natal conference until the national elections next year, or to forge ahead despite legal challenges and a number of disgruntled regions that have cried foul over party processes.

At the meeting in North West, axed premier Supra Mahumapelo is expected to present the names of former provincial director-general Job Mokgoro, ambassador to the UN Jerry Matjila, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa or North West speaker Susan Dantjie to replace him. The successful candidate is expected to unite the party members and repair the image of the ANC in the eyes of the voters.

However, the NEC will not have a simple decision to make as the ANC’s alliance partners in North West accuse Mahumapelo of snubbing “the popular candidate” – former education MEC Zakes Tolo – “whose nomination was widely supported during an alliance consultation meeting on Tuesday”.

The alliance partners want the NEC to be “brave and decisive”, and to disband Mahumapelo’s provincial executive because “it is not only divided itself, but it is unable to work with the alliance”.

The ANC will depend on support from its alliance partners – the SA Communist Party (SACP), Cosatu and the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) – during the elections campaign next year.

Cosatu secretary Job Dliso said the federation did not know how Mokgoro and Molewa’s names came up because they were not discussed at the alliance meeting.

North West SACP secretary Madoda Sambatha said the alliance consultation meeting was as per the instructions of Luthuli House on Monday, where the alliance secretaries were told to urgently sit down and agree on the names.

He said Tolo was supported by the SACP, Cosatu and Sanco, “but, in the final list, the dominant name at the meeting of the alliance is not there”, adding that this undermined the credibility of the consultation.

Sanco provincial chairperson Paul Sebegoe said Tolo was the right person to take over the reins, “considering that we are only left with 11 months before the elections”.

Sebegoe said Mokgoro was the director-general in the premier’s office “when this thing of governance collapse started, and you cannot explain it otherwise”.

He added: “Molewa is a well-known factionalist belonging to a particular group and she is not a solution to the issues in North West. I do not see any of those names emerging, so we are still insisting on an intervention. The gap has widened, meaning the NEC now has the prerogative to intervene.

“We strongly believe that, once there is a disbandment tomorrow, the chapter will close and the NEC must be brave and decisive. Whatever name is presented by the NEC, we will accept it.”

Yesterday, Mahumapelo’s opponents circulated old newspaper articles linking Matjila to allegations of fraud and corruption when he was still director-general at the department of international relations and cooperation. Those close to Mahumapelo, however, alleged that Tolo had failed young people as chairperson of Taletso TVET College in Mahikeng, saying “young people are not happy with him”.

Ramaphosa’s supporters in volatile KwaZulu-Natal are expected to again argue against postponing the conference until all grievances in the province have been attended to. This after members from the Harry Gwala, Lower South Coast and Moses Mabhida regions interdicted the conference moments before it was set to begin last week.

It is understood that those pushing for a postponement are hoping for a national task team to replace the current provincial task team. There is also a view that key leaders, including Sihle Zikalala, who was expected to emerge as chairperson at the provincial conference, should be moved to serve in Parliament to dislodge some of the factions in the province. However, allies of former president Jacob Zuma are unlikely to accept this proposal and will instead argue for an iron fist approach to those who take the ANC to court instead of keeping the disputes internal.

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Read more on:    nec  |  anc  |  cyril ramaphosa

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