'Gatekeeping' must stop – ANC eThekwini branch official

Various branches in the ANC eThekwini region gathered at Durban's South Beach on Monday, where they called for issues around membership to be dealt with. 

About 350 people gathered at the South Beach Amphitheatre, led by Ward 66 secretary and strong ally of the so-called "rebels" in the province, Thabani Nyawose.

Nyawose addressed the crowd, most of whom donned CR17 T-shirts. He promised the group that "gatekeeping", a process where obtaining party membership is purposefully made difficult, would stop.

He said that following a meeting with regional and provincial leadership, less red tape for membership applications was expected.

"Many in the region were denied membership for quite some time. This despite written letters and other submissions."

Nyawose said members would head to the ANC's provincial and regional offices on Monday for their membership to be re-evaluated.

Factionalism

He said eThekwini region chairperson Zandile Gumede was open to discussion.

"ANC members who are concerned can sit down [together to] discuss and resolve all matters. [I was] happy and impressed with chair of the region, Zandile Gumede, and the commitment she made yesterday."

He said that while there was still factional fighting in the province, it was being dealt with.

"Currently factions are still visible. We are serious now in resolving internal differences and issues. We want factions to be destroyed and dismantled."

According to Nyawose, it was important for membership to be open so that the ANC could be stronger in the 2019 general elections.

He said that many councillors ran independently in the 2016 local government elections because of their displeasure with the ruling party.

Interim structure

"Some of these comrades won these wards. We are saying to the ANC, it cannot deny people membership. The reason they contested [independently] was because of how the leadership handled processes. It is not out of their making. They were forced by their own circumstances."

Aggrieved KwaZulu-Natal ANC members legally challenged the results of the party's 2015 provincial conference and won. The provincial executive committee (PEC) opposed the judgment and launched an appeal.

Respondents in the matter included Sihle Zikalala, who was the chairperson of the now suspended PEC, his deputy, Willies Mchunu, the ANC itself, the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa and other top ANC figures.

During the elective conference, Zikalala received 780 votes, while Mchunu got 675 votes, in a process where 1 459 delegates voted.

The national executive committee (NEC) of the party established an interim structure in KwaZulu-Natal while the PEC was suspended.

Five NEC members were assigned to oversee the structure including Edna Molewa, Lindiwe Sisulu, Dakota Legoete, Candith Mashego-Dlamini and Sibongile Besani.

Mike Mabuyakhulu was made the convener of the structure, a position likened to that of chairperson. Zikalala is the coordinator, a role similar to being secretary.


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