Cape Town – An intense battle for control of the newly formed political party, the African Democratic Change (ADeC) has broken out.
The fight appears to be centred around former Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members Mpho Ramakatsa, Lufuno Gogoro, and founder of the party, former ANC MP Makhosi Khoza.
Khoza, who had been with the ANC for over 35 years, was a vocal opponent of former president Jacob Zuma, and had been removed as chairperson of the public service and administration portfolio committee after voting against Zuma in a vote of no confidence last year.
She subsequently resigned from the ANC and launched ADeC in December last year.
READ: Makhosi Khoza launches new party, vows not to make same mistakes as ANC
Ramakatsa was kicked out of EFF alongside Andile Mngxitama in 2015, for making unsanctioned statements on behalf of the EFF. Mngxitama went on to establish the Black First Land First movement.
Fight becomes public with Khoza's "suspension"
The fight for control of the party became public after a statement from Thokozani Msomi, who claims to be the deputy president of the party, stating that Khoza had been suspended for bringing the party into disrepute and would be facing a disciplinary hearing.
Msoni’s statement said the decision to suspend Khoza came following a communication breakdown.
“Dr Makhosi Khoza (President) turned into a dictator and thus [was] undermining democratic nature of ADeC and its structures,” he said.
Msoni said ADeC’s national task team had also promised to organise a national Imbizo to engage organisational structures on organisational challenges and a way forward, but had failed in this regard.
"It is within this background that provinces took it upon themselves to organise the national Imbizo to clear issues with the national task team," he said.
Khoza not suspended
ADeC’s spokesperson, Feziwe Ndwayana, has refuted the suspension, saying that Ramakatsa and Gogoro were behind the call for Khoza to be suspended and were not, in fact, recognised as members of the political party.
She said the party also did not recognise Msomi as the deputy president, saying he had been given the title by those aligned with Ramakatsa.
“It is on these grounds that the African Democratic Change national board distances itself from the meeting held in Khotso House,” she said.
Ndwayana said ADeC had brought criminal charges against Ramakatsa and Gogoro and had requested them to refrain from using the name and branding of the party.
"We have subsequently rejected the membership of the North West Convener Kagiso Monyadiwa for intimidation of members, bringing the party into disrepute, calling for the disruption of ADeC meeting. And the defamation of character of a number of members of ADeC, as well as the Convener of Gauteng, Wiekus Kotze, for intimidation of members, bringing the party into disrepute, calling for the disruption of ADeC meeting and the defamation of character of a number of members of ADeC," she said.
Ndwayana said the party called on all its members not to attend meetings called in the name of ADeC that have not been sanctioned.
"Individuals that continue to bring the name of the organization into disrepute will have their membership reviewed as well," she said.