Some ANC branches ready to 'revolt'

2016-04-07 07:27
President Jacob Zuma (File)

President Jacob Zuma (File) (Screengrab)

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Johannesburg - It is time for ANC branches to revolt and reclaim the party.

This was the feeling expressed by members, from various branches, attending the Liliesleaf Farm branch's political dialogue held in Midrand, Johannesburg on Wednesday night.

There seemed to be a consensus at the meeting that other branches, including the Liliesleaf Farm branch, needed to follow the example of the Sefako Makgatho branch in the Greater Johannesburg region, which called on President Jacob Zuma to step down.

"Some branches have taken a stand and that's a very good stand and we will follow..," said a member.

The Sefako Makgatho branch has written to ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe calling on Zuma to resign. If he does not resign the branch wants him to face the party's integrity committee or national disciplinary committee like any other member.

ANC members attending Wednesday night's meeting called on the branches to speak out saying "enough is enough".

Some claimed the ANC had been held captive by an individual and his supporters, making decisions on behalf of the party.

The ANC could not be used as an instrument to help one man survive, a man who was "bleeding morally, politically and legally". 

A number of members questioned the decisions taken by the national executive committee (NEC) and national working committee (NWC).

Some were upset that following the Constitutional Court judgment the ANC top six called for an extended NWC meeting, yet provincial leaders had not come to communicate what had happened in the meeting to their structures.

The NEC and NWC, which many believed were pro-Zuma, were seen to be serving the president's interests instead of the party's.

This also called into question the process of electing leaders in the ANC and slate politics.

There was a general feeling at Wednesday's meeting that Zuma should act in the best interest of the ANC and voluntarily step down. 

Umkhonto we Sizwe veteran Mavuso Msimang, who earlier in the day stood with civil society organisations and activists on the stairs of the Constitutional Court calling on Zuma to resign, was the keynote speaker at the meeting.

The meeting was attended by members from other Johannesburg branches as well as from branches in other provinces. 

The conference room at the Premier Hotel in Midrand was packed to capacity with some having to stand throughout proceedings while others sat on the floor filling up any empty space.

It has been a turbulent time for the ANC.

It started with revelations by former party officials and current that the politically connected Gupta family were offering Cabinet positions to certain people and interfering in government work. This culminated in the Constitutional Court's ruling last week which ordered that Zuma had failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's remedial action regarding payment for the non-security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

On Tuesday, the National Assembly debated a motion to remove the president from office, tabled by the Democratic Alliance, but this was defeated by the ANC in Parliament. The motion failed with 233 MPs voting against it and 143 in favour. There were no abstentions.

Msimang on Wednesday questioned how the ANC could claim "defeating the spirit of the Constitution" as a victory.

He said it was a painful time for the party.

Although members attending the meeting felt that the ANC's branches needed to take matters into their hands, Msimang said this would take too long.

Waiting for branch processes could cause more damage to the ANC's reputation.

According to Msimang, continuing with an "unsuitable person... is not being serious at all".

"The ANC could save us and this nation by acting."


Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg  |  nkandla upgrade  |  politics

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