Sanco threatens to exit ANC alliance

2018-04-08 05:55
Mike Soko

Mike Soko

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The SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in Mpumalanga has proposed to contest elections independently, threatening to derail the ANC's 2019 provincial elections campaign.

Sanco’s provincial executive committee claims to be disillusioned with the manner the ANC treats its members as “stepchildren”, from the branches to provincial leadership level. The civic organisation is expected to table three proposals seeking to dislodge Sanco from the ANC’s stranglehold at its next national conference this year, but it has not been scheduled as yet.

The proposals are meant to change the relationship between Sanco and its alliance partner.

The first proposal will lobby that Sanco breaks away from the ANC and return to being a watchdog over service delivery matters. The second plan proposes that the organisation splits from the alliance and contests state power in all spheres of government. The third option calls for the reconfiguration of the alliance so that the centre of the power lies in the alliance, not with the ANC.

Sanco’s decision flies in the face of deputy president David Mabuza’s initiative to unite the alliance and the ANC in the province.

Its concerns with the ANC mirror what the SACP in Mpumalanga raised in the past.

Sanco’s Mpumalanga secretary, Mike Soko, said the province’s discussion document would be tabled at the conference, where 315 branches and 70 000 members who also hold ANC memberships will shape the future of the organisation.

“Branches are not happy at all ... they’re treated like stepchildren and they say the relationship does not work, as decisions of alliance structures meetings are not implemented,” Soko said.

“The ANC governs alone yet we campaign for elections together. Nobody can claim that the alliance is united in the province. The executive council should be reflective of the alliance and it’s not,” he said, adding that the Mpumalanga legislature had been reflective of the alliance for many years.

Soko said that Sanco had hoped the relationship would improve with the recent changes in the province – a veiled reference to Mabuza’s departure to the ANC’s top six and becoming the country’s deputy president.

Although Mabuza had been talking unity, he is largely considered to be the architect of the disunity that was entrenched in the province during his nine-year reign as provincial ANC chairperson.

The disunity cost the ANC three seats in the last general elections. One seat went to the Bushbuckridge Residents’ Association, which split from the ANC as a result of the alienation of members in the Bohlabela region. Two seats went to the Economic Freedom Fighters, which also poached members directly from the ANC.

Mpumalanga ANC secretary Mandla Ndlovu said he believed the differences with Sanco leadership would be ironed out, since the alliance secretariat met recently.

“We’re not going to comment on the statements [the Sanco leadership is] releasing. Sanco members are also our members, so they will be dividing themselves with the decision to stand independently,” Ndlovu said.

It is unclear yet what the Mpumalanga legislature is going to look like since it is about to be reshuffled following recent changes that saw Mabuza leaving the province and education MEC Reginah Mhaule being appointed deputy minister of international relations and cooperation.

Also, ANC chief whip Johan Mkhatshwa was redeployed to be the mayor of Nkomazi Local Municipality, while legislature speaker Thandi Shongwe was appointed social development MEC.

Peter Nyoni, one of the contenders for the vacant position of Mpumalanga ANC chairperson, said Sanco should not run away from the problems engulfing the alliance in the province.

“I strongly feel that the opportunity is still there for Sanco to mobilise communities and work with the ANC. We must show leadership and face these challenges,” Nyoni said.

Read more on:    anc  |  sanco

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