Factional lines are drawn as D-Day arrives for defiant Andile Lungisa

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Andile Lungisa
Andile Lungisa

The Andile Lungisa leadership tussle has taken another turn as the defiant regional chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Region has been given till today to resign.

Lungisa defied instructions from the ANC top six to resign from his position last week.

Now, the provincial secretary of the ANC in the Eastern Cape, Oscar Mabuyane, has set the deadline for Lungisa to vacate his position in the region.

In a letter seen by City Press – addressed to Lungisa by Mabuyane – the new marching orders have been given a time frame.

The letter states that Lungisa must resign from the position of chairperson of the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Region.

This decision must be effected latest by Thursday, March 23 2017.

Failure to heed this advice may lead to disciplinary action being considered.

On Friday afternoon he hosted a celebratory dinner at a private location in the Nelson Mandela upmarket leafy suburbs.

Hundreds of members of the regional ANC attended the dinner in high spirits to celebrate their victory in electing Lungisa as the new chairperson.

Lungisa said he continued to be the regional chairperson, without fear, as elected by the members of the ANC in good standing.

“The SG [secretary-general] must quit this race because he will not succeed; this is not one man’s decision,” said Lungisa.

“The people have spoken and their presence at my celebratory dinner confirms this,” he said.

“Look around you, we are in a celebratory mood. These comrades are the ones who have elected me as their leader. I continue to be the chairperson of this region, not by my own choice but through the wishes of the members of the ANC.”

Gwede Mantashe, secretary-general of the ANC, addressed a different crowd in Port Alfred on Sunday.

During his address, which set the tone as a response to Lungisa’s utterances, he said the ANC was not defiable in its nature.

“You cannot defy the ANC; when the ANC has spoken – that is the line,” said Mantashe.

“When you are given an instruction, it becomes a line, and it must be followed because Lusaka has spoken. Your responsibility to lead ends when you have defied the policies of the ANC.”

He also said leaders of the ANC must have experience and foresight.

“A leader must account, be ethical, principled, respect the opinions of others and be advisable,” said Mantashe.

He said ethical behaviour was what was expected.

“Even if you disagree with the views of your elders, you must be guided by ethics,” he said.

“Ethics will remind you that you are in a leadership position and therefore should succumb to the views of the elders in society.”

Mantashe quoted former ANC president Oliver Tambo as the father of ethics and morality in the organisation.

He said Tambo led the ANC during the most difficult era, when there were no offices to account to, because they were in the trenches, in the forest, at the time.

He said Tambo hated factionalism politics.

“Oliver Tambo was about the ANC and not factions,” said Mantashe.

“Many, when defending their factionalism tendencies, say Mantashe was also a product of factional slates,” he said.

“I agree, I was, but that doesn’t make factionalism right,” he said.

The relations between Mantashe and Lungisa escalated from an exchange of letters.

Lungisa defied various instructions of the ANC, from Mantashe’s office to the national executive committee.

He insisted his situation was unique and should be viewed as such.

Lungisa is continuing with his programme as the chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Region, in clear defiance of the ANC.

On Tuesday, Lungisa hosted Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas to commemorate the Uitenhage Massacre of 1985, when 20 people died in a shooting by the police outside Langa township.

The expiry of his deadline will determine if the higher structures will put actions to their words, or there will be more advice for Lungisa to vacate office.

In the end, the actions will determine who is the stronger of the two factions leading the ANC.

Lungisa represents the Zuma faction, which seeks to crown Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the first female president of the ANC.

Mabuyane has been known to belong to the Mantashe faction.

Failure to successfully deal with Lungisa on the regional position dispute will deem the most powerful office of the ANC, the office of the secretary-general, toothless.

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