ANC in civil war

Regional battles: Members are increasingly competing with and turning against one another

03 October 2017 - 06:32
By Bongani Mthethwa, Zingisa Mvumvu and Zwanga Mukhuthu
ANC president Jacob Zuma. File photo.
Image: Elizabeth Sejake ANC president Jacob Zuma. File photo.

Political patronage is tearing the ANC apart as its members turn against each other to fight for a shrinking piece of the pie.

This is the view of political analysts who say the fact that disgruntled ANC members are turning to the courts is a sign that they no longer trust internal dispute mechanisms.

The validity of the outcome of the controversial ANC Eastern Cape provincial elective conference is now in the hands of Luthuli House to determine which side to believe in the dispute.

That is if the disgruntled grouping - which had their initial case to have the conference interdicted thrown out of court on Monday - does not submit another court application to have the conference outcome nullified.

Meanwhile, the ANC National Executive Committee is yet to pronounce on the outcome of its three-day meeting over the weekend with the KwaZulu-Natal leadership on the contested 2015 provincial elective conference.

The ANC's top brass met the KZN provincial leadership in a bid to find a solution to the disputed conference nullified by the Pietermaritzburg High Court judgment after a challenge by the so-called ANC rebels.

But the current provincial leadership wants to appeal against the court ruling which effectively renders it illegitimate.

On Monday the ANC announced there would be no media briefing on the outcomes of the NEC meeting over the weekend.

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said an announcement would be made in due course.

Political analyst Lukhona Mnguni said patronage in the ANC has resulted in fierce contests among factions for top party positions. He said factionalism in the ANC meant the NEC could no longer be "a neutral arbiter to the disputes" ravaging the party ahead of its December elective conference.

Reliance on the courts
indicated that members felt the party’s centre no longer holds
Political analyst

"This is why they are finding it difficult to communicate a coherent message on the KZN issue. The ANC's grip on power is starting to lose momentum and the slice is getting smaller and therefore cannot accommodate as many people as it used to before," he said.

He said party members were relying on the courts because they did not trust internal processes. "They understand how compromised structures are because they have been part of them and part of ANC processes."

Mnguni added that the "reliance on the courts indicated that members felt the party's centre no longer holds".

He said the current KZN political situation and violence which broke out at the Eastern Cape provincial elective conference, where Oscar Mabuyane was elected provincial chairman on Sunday, meant that political processes were collapsing in the party.

A group supporting Phumulo Masualle, ousted by Mabuyane, confirmed they would petition the party's national working committee, which includes the ANC's top six officials, to nullify the conference outcome.

The aggrieved group, which includes former ANCYL deputy president Andile Lungisa and Eastern Cape rural development and agrarian reform MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane, have alleged there were procedural irregularities during the conference.

Political analyst Shadrack Gutto said the Eastern Cape ANC was in crisis and there would likely be a new court battle.

"They may have a chance to appeal, but the time [between now and the national elective conference] is short for those who are proposing to do anything."

- Additional reporting Nomahlubi Jordaan