Lungisa vs Ramaphosa: Strong show of support for President from ANC in the Eastern Cape

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Oscar Mabuyane. (Netwerk24)
Oscar Mabuyane. (Netwerk24)
  • Seven of the eight ANC regions in the Eastern Cape have expressed a vote of confidence in party president Cyril Ramaphosa.
  • This was after Andile Lungisa called for the president to stop attacks against Zuma. 
  • These ANC regions have rubbished his claims, saying they are factually inaccurate.

At least seven of the eight ANC regions in the Eastern Cape have spoken out strongly against former ANC Youth League deputy president Andile Lungisa.

This, after he called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to stop attacks against his predecessor Jacob Zuma. 

One by one, statements rebuking the suspended ANC leader Lungisa were released from Eastern Cape regions in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

This is the strongest show of support for Ramaphosa and his ally, provincial chair Oscar Mabuyane, in a province riddled by factional infighting since the disputed ANC conference dubbed the "festival of chairs".  

Lungisa who, after receiving parole after serving two months of his two year assault sentence, staged a media briefing in Port Elizabeth where he spoke at length about Zuma's woes.

In his long-winded address, Lungisa said ANC leaders in attendance - including NEC member Tandi Mahambehlala, former premier Supra Mahumapelo and former finance minister Des van Rooyen - should call for Ramaphosa to stop attacks on former president Zuma.

Lungisa, a known ally of Zuma and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, also took jabs at the provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi, who he said had little experience in provincial politics, adding that he had been "microwaved" into his position from a sub-region. 

Regions of the Eastern Cape have criticised the former youth leader, saying that his damaged  efforts to promote the rule of law, in favour of lawlessness and anarchy.

The ANC's second biggest region in the country, the OR Tambo region, said it stood behind its elected leaders and would continue to defend the forward-looking positions for which they were often attacked.

READ | Ramaphosa could face coup if Zuma is arrested for Zondo inquiry walkout, warns MKMVA's Maphatsoe

"There will be no diversion. We have a long way consolidating our organisation to get ready for the next assignment in the service of our people. Discipline comes first. There can be no organisation without discipline. Taking to public platform and putting down the movement is uncomradely and should be condemned. It is in this light that we call on all comrades to stand behind our leadership and our movement in condemning ill discipline in our ranks, and focus on building the organisation," task team coordinator Vinny Tsita said.

The Chris Hani regional secretary, Lusanda Sizani, said Lungisa's statements were a gross misrepresentation "of fallacious proportions" to harbour the illusion that Ramaphosa was responsible for the prosecution and legal woes of Zuma.

Sizani said: 

"This exposes the complete lack of appreciating the most basic tenant of our democracy on the principle of separation of powers."

Alfred Nzo regional coordinator Vido Mhlelembana called on the provincial leadership to be decisive and deal with any form of anarchy, starting with Lungisa."As Alfred Nzo Region we are still satisfied with the collective leadership and we encourage you comrades not to divert focus to these petty tendencies that are seem to be orchestrated somewhere," he said. 

Dr WB Rubusana regional secretary Antonio Carels placed his confidence in Mabuyane's provincial leadership, saying that Lungisa's statements seriously insulted the intellectual capacity of the majority of branches which had put their hopes in the leadership that was today being undermined by an individual. 

The ANC in the province has been at odds after it elected Mabuyane as leader in the "festival of chairs" in 2017. 

Lungisa has been a headache for Mabuyane, who struggled to keep him in line while he was a Nelson Mandela Bay councillor. It took Mabuyane and his secretary almost two years to get Lungisa to step down as a mayoral committee member, after even appealing to Luthuli House for help.

Lungisa has indicated that he will be mobilising on the ground in villages and towns for a special conference ahead of the national general council to discuss a radical transformation of the economy. 

In his statement on Tuesday, Lungisa said: 

"We need to maintain national unity, where we are saying, a person who is a former president, a former leader, we need to make sure they don't harass. We give them space with their own families, with their own grandchildren without interrupting them."

Lungisa warned that a civil war could break out if Zuma was not left alone. This is the similar warning that was made by the leader of the Zuma-aligned Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association, Kebby Maphatsoe. 

Maphatsoe told News24 that those who loved Zuma might react emotionally, and hinted that this could result in his supporters overthrowing Ramaphosa.

Task team coordinator in Nelson Mandela Bay, Luyolo Nqakula, has been in competition with Lungisa for control of the party in the region, and in the ANC council. 

Nqakula also voiced his frustration with Lungisa, calling him a "rogue element".

"This mutinous behavior is an extreme form of provocation that can only be spearheaded by reactionary and counter-revolutionary forces who have no space in our movement.

"The writing is on the wall that the guilty are concerned and at no stage shall we have and or expect any Joe Gqabians to associate themselves with splinter groups for we remain assured in backing the 8th Provincial Conference outcomes together with the  54th National Conference outcomes, for any deviation shall leave the collective with no option but to decisively deal with such bogus elements," wrote Sakhele Searchmore, the task team coordinator in Joe Gqabi region. 

Johannes Hobbs, secretary of the Sarah Baartman region, said he wished to remind Lungisa and others that charges pertaining to the arms deal against Zuma dated back from 2005.

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