The fight for leadership positions at the African Independent Congress (AIC) has been thrown into the open with two different factions claiming to be the sole legitimate structure.
One of the groups is led by AIC president Mandla Galo while the other group is led by the AIC former deputy president Lulama Ntshayisa.
At the party’s national conference at the Kokstad town hall in April this year, Mandla Galo was re-elected as president while the group led by then party deputy president Lulama Ntshayisa challenged the conference outcome.
AIC member Aubrey Mhlongo confirmed that they had taken Galo to court, challenging the conference outcome, saying it was illegitimate and accusing Galo and his group of failing to follow correct procedures at the conference.
“Yes, I can confirm our leadership dispute has been heard at the Pietermaritzburg court on October 19 and it was postponed for February 4, 2019 at the same court,” said Mhlongo.
The AIC party was formed after Matatiele was incorporated into the Eastern Cape Province from KwaZulu-Natal in 2005. Many people were unhappy about the change and the AIC was formed to fight it.
In an interview with the Fever, Aubrey Mhlongo accused party president Mandla Galo of using delay tactics when it came to the issue of incorporating Matatiele back into KZN.
“We have missed our deadline, which said that if the ANC failed to incorporate Matatiele back into KwaZulu-Natal by April or the end of May this year, we will cut coalition ties with the ANC at Ekurhuleni Municipality in Gauteng.”
“I believe, as the party, we sold the people of Matatiele. Why are we failing to cut ties with the ANC coalition government? Now, we demand to know whether Galo is gaining something from the ANC,” said Mhlongo.
This accusation comes after KZN and Eastern Cape legislatures convened different public hearings in Kokstad and Matatiele over the same issue at the beginning of the year.
Former AIC deputy president Lulama Ntshayisa said he did not recognise Galo as his party president.
“All national parliament sessions have been closed for December and there is nothing that can be done about the issue,” said Ntshayisa.
Responding to the accusation, Galo laughed and said Mhlongo and Ntshayisa are no longer members of the AIC, nor are they National Executive Committee members of the party.
AIC party spokesperson Mxolisi Jerome Koom said, “The process of enquiry to incorporate Matatiele back into KZN is still in place, but they are using any opportunity to tarnish Galo’s image.”
The ANC could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.