Still defiant

2017-03-19 06:02
Andile Lungisa. Picture: Norhi Lungisa

Andile Lungisa. Picture: Norhi Lungisa

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Buoyed by Zuma’s apparent support, Andile Lungisa has refused to follow Mantashe’s recommendation for him to stand down as Nelson Mandela Bay ANC chairperson.

Andile Lungisa, the former ANC Youth League deputy president, is never far from controversy.

Last weekend, what was supposed to be a proud moment as he was elected chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Bay region in the Eastern Cape, was clouded by a dispute about his eligibility for the position.

Lungisa, 38, had ignored a letter from ANC secretary- general Gwede Mantashe, warning him not to contest as the constitution did not allow a member of the provincial executive committee (PEC) to stand for leadership in a regional structure.

In the letter, Mantashe wrote: “We have consistently ... prohibited comrades from higher organs of the ANC from contesting positions in lower organs. Any attempt to resign from the PEC in the run-up to regional conferences must not be allowed as it is opportunistic.”

But Lungisa disputed this and was elected. Mantashe has since referred him to the party’s disciplinary committee for action.

However, the arrival of ANC president Jacob Zuma in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, in an apparent endorsement of Lungisa, complicated things.

Lungisa still maintains that he did nothing wrong.

He says he apologised (in a letter to Mantashe) for the utterances he made to Mantashe, but not for continuing with the race and his interpretation of the constitution.

Taking a swipe at Mantashe, Lungisa said the visit proved Zuma’s activist character.

“President Zuma simplified his office since he occupied it. He never complicated it and is always accessible to the membership, even at branch level.

“The ANC is a scientific organisation, we don’t use general knowledge in politics. You must analyse a situation in political terms. The president never opened a constitution when he arrived, he made a political clarion call that we must unite and addressed the delegates without a rule book.”

Lungisa was involved in another fracas in the Nelson Mandela Bay council, when he and another ANC councillor, Gamelihle Maqula, appeared in court twice, on charges of assault of DA councillors. He played down the significance of the matter to that of a mere squabble.

“There wasn’t any court case, it was a squabble and one party decided to take it to court…There’s no court case there,” he said chuckling, without clarifying what the court had decided.

"I was born into politics"

Last year the ANC in the area ceded control of the municipality to the DA after the local government elections.

However, Lungisa says there is no other alternative but to win Mandela Bay back in 2021.

“Work has already begun to take over every corner of the city and work towards taking the city back. The DA has proved that they have no programme for the Bay communities.

“This is why I said we must be dressed in All Star takkies and tracksuits, because we’re going to clean up the metro. The priority is retaining the history of this region, which has produced political giants. People are now doing as they please in this area, which used to be respected and feared politically.”

He said they would clean up and rid the metro’s streets of crime. “We cannot have thugs running the streets of a historical organisation.”

Confirming his support for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to be the next president of the ANC, he said the national democratic revolution was meaningless if it did not fully liberate mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, wives and aunties.

“Women bear the burden of racial oppression and alienation and that of patriarchy in society. We must therefore affirm the full equality of women to men.

“We must stand ready to support and accept leadership of society by strong, intelligent and capable women. If a suitably qualified woman candidate with requisite experience should appear on the national stage, the movement of Winnie Mandela and Ruth First must support and elect a woman president.”

In an apparent attempt to present himself as a lifelong politician, Lungisa says he is not new to politics.

“Unlike many, I was born into politics, I never joined them, I did not seek to find politics in my life. My family is grounded in the history of the liberation struggle. My maternal grandmother was a staunch supporter and campaigner of King Sabata Dalindyebo. In 1985/86, she had an ANC T-shirt long before 1994 when it became fashionable,” he says.

“I grew up in the politics of AbaThembu of Rhoda and AbaThembu of Bumbane. My grandfather is Willie Somdyala, a gallant freedom fighter who died fighting in World War 2. He was buried in Mpumalanga in a war memorial. He was part of the group that formed the ANC Youth League.”

Lungisa revealed his true identity, confirming his links with Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza. “I am actually Ntlemeza, Andile Ntlemeza, and not Lungisa, as I am popularly known. My paternal grandfather is Ntlemeza, his name is Chitho Ntlemeza. My father was born in Lesotho, because my grandfather was in Lesotho as far back as 1952. I use Lungisa but our surname is actually Ntlemeza.”

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