Mchunu warns ANC

2018-05-15 16:31
Former premier Senzo Mchunu warns of implosion should squabbles within the ANC in KZN continue.

Former premier Senzo Mchunu warns of implosion should squabbles within the ANC in KZN continue. (File)

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As ANC leaders battle to contain internal wrangles within the party’s KZN structures, former premier Senzo Mchunu has warned that the party will implode if party members’ grievances continue to be ignored.

Speaking during an exclusive interview with The Witness, Mchunu, who is also a member of the ANC national working committee (NWC) and chairperson of the party’s organising and campaigns committee, said the future of the organisation hinged on its response to “genuine grievances being raised by members on the ground”.

“Just like any other organisation, whether in the private or public sector, the ANC in this province risks going under if it continues to ignore problems. Listening to people on the ground is not just a nice thing to do but a very critical necessity if you want to keep an organisation alive,” he said.

The ANC in the province is currently divided between party members who supported President Cyril Ramaphosa and those who backed former AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma during last year’s presidential race.

Three ANC figures, two in the Lower South Coast and one in the Moses Mabhida region, have been gunned down in recent weeks.

While there is currently no evidence linking the killing of several ANC leaders in the province to the party’s internal divisions, Mchunu said the organisation was concerned about the fact that those being targeted had recently complained about the state of affairs of their branches and regions.

“Some of the comrades who had been killed had been on national television in recent days where they expressed their unhappiness about certain matters in their branches and regions. Yes, we need to wait for police to do their jobs and arrest the perpetrators so that we can get an idea on why ANC members are being killed.

“However, having said that, we can’t completely ignore the fact that ANC members are being killed and people want urgent answers. People are asking why is it that it is always those comrades who have been raising certain matters at branch meetings and other ANC platforms who are being killed,” he said.

Problems within the ANC in the province took a turn for the worse in around 2015 when ANC leaders organised an early provincial conference without following party guidelines.

Mchunu, who at the time was ANC provincial chairperson, was, alongside other members of the provincial executive committee (PEC), ousted from power.

The new leadership that emerged from the 2015 provincial conference, which the courts has since declared illegitimate, went on to remove Mchunu from the premier’s office — a move that drove a wedge between the new ANC leadership and party members sympathetic to Mchunu.

Mchunu backers subsequently got the courts to nullify the outcome of the 2015 conference, resulting in the disbandment of the provincial leadership structure elected at the disputed gathering.

Mchunu said he did not see how the disbandment of the PEC could be seen as victory for him or any other person in the party who had objected to the manner in which the conference was conducted. “The problem is not so much about who lost or won at the conference, it is about how leadership responded to those highlighting certain shortcomings. If people say we are not happy with this and that aspect, as leadership we have an obligation to listen to their grievances and not simply label them as so and so’s supporters,” he said.

On whether the ANC should go ahead with the planned provincial conference in the face of rising tensions within the party, Mchunu said it a constitutional requirement for ANC structures to hold conferences and elect new leadership.

“The ANC has taken a decision that the provincial conference should go ahead and that decision still stands.

“However, what we should be asking ourselves is what should come first: resolving the grievances that are currently causing tensions and divisions within the province or the conference. I don’t think there is anything wrong in saying let’s resolve the problems first and then go to conference,” he said.

The Moses Mabhida and Lower Coast regions are among the four regions in the province that the NWC had barred from holding regional conferences pending the resolution of problems that had been identified in the regions.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  anc

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