After victory in eThekwini‚ ANC faces an internal revolt

06 August 2016 - 14:23 By Nce Mkhize

The ANC won an outright majority in eThekwini in the local government elections‚ but it faces an internal revolt in the city once the election fanfare is over. ANC members in eThekwini‚ the party’s biggest region in the country‚ are gathering information to bring a court action to nullify the result of the party’s elective conference.Zandile Gumede‚ the ANC’s mayoral candidate for eThekwini municipality‚ was elected as eThekwini ANC regional chairperson at the conference at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium in December.She beat rival James Nxumalo‚ whose supporters brought an unsuccessful court action to stop the conference taking place.An earlier eThekwini regional conference‚ won by Nxumalo‚ was nullified by Luthuli House and two subsequent attempts to hold the conference failed.Those proposing the court action appear to be emboldened by a High Court application last month by five ANC members — all believed to be supporters of former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu — to have the provincial elective conference results set aside. Mchunu lost to Sihle Zikalala in that election.A few months later Mchunu was asked to step down by provincial leadership and was replaced by Willies Mchunu‚ Zikalala’s deputy in the provincial leadership.In the Pietermaritzburg High Court motion‚ the five — Lawrence Dube‚ Sibahle Zikalala‚ Martin Mzangwa‚ Mzweni Ngcobo and Lindiwe Buthelez — cited 39 respondents‚ including Zikalala‚ Willies Mchunu‚ the ANC‚ and the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (Eisa)‚ who have until September to file responding papers.Now‚ Thabi Nzimande‚ an ANC leader in KwaMashu’s Ward 40‚ says she is part of a group that is collating information from other wards to lodge their own court application to nullify the eThekwini ANC regional conference’s results."There were many irregularities before and during that conference‚" she says. "There were members in good standing who were excluded from the branches’ voters roll. The ANC’s constitution was violated in that people whose membership was less than a year were allowed to vote."Our appeal within the structures of the ANC‚ even to secretary-general Gwede Mantashe‚ were ignored."We are left with no option but to approach the court because we cannot surrender our organisation to people who want to use it for their own selfish ends."Nzimande says they are also angry that people who did not support Zikalala and Gumede were sidelined when the candidates were selected to stand as ANC candidates in the local government elections.This has led to many former ANC councillors deciding to stand as independent candidates against candidates selected by the party.An independent candidate‚ who asked not to be named‚ has confirmed that eThekwini members who are unhappy with the election of Gumede are planning to challenge her in court.He says they were further buoyed by the court action of the five against the provincial leadership."A decision was taken recently that those who want to stand as independents should go ahead and do so. But apart from that‚ we are planning to also challenge the eThekwini region’s result in court. We will approach the Durban High Court soon after the elections‚" he says.ANC spokesman in the province Mdumiseni Ntuli has dismissed the planned action‚ calling it the work of disgruntled members who do not want to accept defeat."Our lawyers are dealing with these matters. We are busy with the election campaign at the moment and we will deal with such matters after the elections are over‚" he says.Political analysts say if the two court applications succeed‚ they would pose a new political conundrum for the ruling party.Sifiso Kunene‚ analyst with the Centre for Participatory Democracy‚ says the situation would create many lame-duck government leaders in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government and in many municipalities in the province."This is a clear sign that all is not well within the ruling party. Some of those who were defeated are questioning the fairness of the process that led to their defeat."If the ANC does not deal with this issue once and for all‚ it will have many ramifications going into the future. It could affect the coherence of the party in KwaZulu-Natal ahead of the national conference in 2017‚" Kunene says.TMG Digital/BDlive..

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