More BGM ructions

2017-11-02 13:16
ANC branch members Slindokuhle Mvelase and Mbongeni Ndaba say they were kicked out of a Ward 2 meeting for supporting Cyril Ramaphosa.

ANC branch members Slindokuhle Mvelase and Mbongeni Ndaba say they were kicked out of a Ward 2 meeting for supporting Cyril Ramaphosa. (Ian Carbutt )

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ANC supporters of Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential ambitions have accused the party’s regional leadership of preventing them from attending a branch meeting in Pietermaritzburg.

This follows allegations of irregularities across the province in the meetings to nominate preferred candidates for the party presidency.

Aggrieved ruling party members said they had not been able to take part in Sunday’s Ward 2 branch general meeting (BGM) in Sweetwaters.

Rival ANC presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was nominated at the meeting.

“When we arrived at the venue we were met by heavily armed bodyguards as well as Msunduzi security guards who turned away comrades in the branch who were not on a list prepared by branch leaders aligned to the Dlamini-Zuma camp,” said Slindokuhle Mvelase, a branch member.

Mvelase, who is a Young Communist League (YCL) leader in the area, said more than 200 branch members in good standing could not participate in the BGM as their names did not feature in the “mysterious” list.

“The branch leadership had initially changed the venue of the BGM meeting at the 11th hour without informing most of the members. When we finally located the new venue, we could see that we were not welcome,” said Mvelase.

“Almost all those people who were turned away are known branch members who have been attending meetings and other ANC events in the area­. We were shocked when we were suddenly told that we were not in good standing,” he said.

Mbongeni Ndaba, another branch member who was kicked out of Sunday’s BGM, said they had since lodged a dispute with the ANC head office in Luthuli House.

“For us it does not make sense to complain to the Moses Mabhida regional executive committee (REC) or provincial executive committee (PEC) as these were the very structures causing all these problems in branches,” he said.

One of the ANC rules states that a BGM can proceed only if more than 50% of branch members in good standing are in attendance.

Mbongeni Mhlongo, who was allowed to participate in the meeting, said many of the ANC guidelines were not observed during the meeting.

“The meeting was allowed to go ahead despite the fact that the list that was presented at the meeting showed that there were 244 members in the branch and yet only 88 were at the meeting.

“When we alerted the observer who had been deployed to the meeting by the REC, she simply ignored us,” he said.

“In fact the observer and ANC branch leaders were less interested in matters of procedure — all they wanted was for people to nominate Dlamini-Zuma,” he said.

ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) branch secretary Xoli Chonco, who had been a member there for 14 years, was also among those who had been turned away.

“We were kept in the dark. Most of the old members were not allowed in the meeting — the majority of those who participated were new people,” she said.

Ward 2 branch chairperson Tom Zuma said it was difficult to comment on the issue around the people whose names did not appear on the list as there could be “a number of reasons for that”. He cited time constraints for the lack of adherence to standard procedures.

“As your so-called sources have already informed you, there were a lot of delays as a result of certain individuals challenging the accuracy of the list. As a result we ended up starting the meeting very late and had to skip some of the processes as there were also elderly people who we could not hold for any longer,” he said.

Allegations of irregularities in nomination processes at Ward 2 and several other ANC branches across the province have emerged recently.

There have been reports that Dlamini-Zuma was in the lead across KwaZulu-Natal’s biggest regions — Moses Mabhida, eThekwini and Harry­ Gwala.

Leaders in the three regions as well as the PEC are part of ANC national structures backing Dlamini-Zuma — a front-runner alongside Ramaphosa in the race to succeed ANC president Jacob Zuma when he steps down as party leader next month.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the council was not aware of the use of either its vehicles or security guards during ANC meetings.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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