- Ace Magashule convinced Andile Lungisa to resign as MMC for infrastructure and development in the Nelson Mandela Bay, he told News24.
- Lungisa said he spoke to Magashule before sending his resignation letter.
- He added that he would continue to work on the ground as the party prepares for the 2021 elections.
Nelson Mandela Bay ANC heavyweight Andile Lungisa resigned from his position in the mayoral council after being prompted by party secretary-general Ace Magashule, he told News24 on Monday.
Lungisa has been at the centre of controversy since he took the position of councillor in the metro. He was first asked to resign from the position of mayoral committee member on infrastructure and engineering in 2017 following his conviction of aggravated assault against a DA member.
His influence and proximity to Luthuli House was said to have given him an edge against his detractors in the provincial executive.
Speaking to News24, Lungisa said he spoke to Magashule who instructed him to heed the call for his resignation.
"I had a telephonic conversation with the SG [Magashule] and he explained the party processes, how we must be able to manage the processes as a disciplined member of the ANC. I then heeded the organisation's call".
Lungisa has been replaced by former mayor Mongameli Bobani.
He added he would continue as an ordinary councillor while working on the ground with party structures to gain support for the ANC as the country heads to the 2021 local elections.
The ANC caucus, which is seen to be led by Lungisa, has been at logger heads with the regional task team resulting in the caucus sending a letter to Magashule's office.
The caucus has accused the Regional Task Team (RTT) of collaborating with the DA to undermine its work, while News24 understands the RTT, led by Nceba Faku, is believed to have written to Luthuli House after the ANC caucus disregarded an order against voting for Mvuleni Mapu.
Mapu was flagged by National Treasury as the reason for withholding the R800 million grant to the metro.
In the letter seen by News24 and sent earlier in July, party caucus chief whip Lutho Suka said the approach of the provincial executive committee (PEC) and national executive committee (NEC) deployees into the affairs of the ANC in the metro should be discursive and participatory and not be instructive on how the affairs of its unique politics were run.
Suka said a new culture was emerging of no engagement with deployees but instead what was communicated was instruction.
"The absence of the PEC and the NEC is noted with concern as its presence would alleviate a lot of the unnecessary elements which arise as a result.
"The absence opens a space for uncalculated political interventions that have a potential to collapse the existence and continuity of both the metro and the black caucus.
"It becomes difficult when allegations of corruption of some key ANC officials such as RTT convener and co-ordinator respectively, who are said to have benefitted from the Covid-19 budget kickbacks are raised.
"These matters are raised within the municipal coalition caucus against the soul of the organisation and, for us, there is no upper structure to adjudicate the matter in the absence of the PEC/NEC. This also strains the capacity of the whippery to deal with the corruption allegations of both the municipality and organisational officials at the same time," Suka wrote.
Earlier in July, The Herald reported that SACP district secretary Lunga Nombexeza opened a case of fraud and corruption against RTT convener Luyolo Nqakula, alleging he had received R300 000 from a Free State company that was contracted by the City to deliver toilets to informal settlements.
Nqakula could not be reached for comment.
Lungisa said the caucus would remain united and firm against those "within the RTT who were accused of corruption".
"A song was sung when we came in 2016 that here are the thieves. The song has been changed. What we will never allow is for the song to return. With no fear or favour there will be no middle ground, if anybody who is taking us to war, we are prepared to go to war".
He added allegations of corruption against party members in Covid-19-related contracts had been flagged to Luthuli House.
"We have raised allegations of corruption internally in the province but nobody has the appetite to attend. We have escalated the matter to the SG.
"We are hoping later it will be attended but if it is not attended, the people of the metro will address any other aspects themselves, if all the allegations of corruption against those who are in the RTT position are not attended. The matter will be in the hands of the community later," he warned.