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ANC branch members threaten to halt provincial elective conference

05 June 2018 - 16:34 By Bongani Mthethwa
A file photo of the ANC flag.
A file photo of the ANC flag.
Image: Stephanie de Sakutin

Disgruntled ANC activists who claim to represent 44 branches out of 88 in the troubled Moses Mabhida region have threatened to go to court should branches in their region be allowed take part in the long-awaited provincial elective conference.

The conference is a rerun of the disputed elective conference held in November 2015 which was declared null and void by the Pietermaritzburg High Court after its outcome was challenged by the so-called ANC rebels.

But ANC activists in the Moses Mabhida region told a media briefing on Tuesday that they were concerned about the current state of affairs‚ both in the region and province‚ ahead of the conference.

Addressing the media on Tuesday‚ ANC activist Msizi Ngcobo said their main concerns were around membership gatekeeping and stability in the province which has been rocked by political killings in what is believed to be intraparty conflict between ANC members.

They claimed that they were shocked to hear a member of the provincial task team announce on a local community radio station that the region had been disbanded. “We also understand that the Lower South Coast and Harry Gwala regions have been disbanded and yet no reasons were shared on why the national leadership disbanded the Moses Mabhida region‚” he said‚ reading from a prepared statement.

Ngcobo has appealed to the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) that Moses Mabhida region should not participate in the upcoming provincial conference because there has been no effort on the part of the provincial task team to address their concerns.

“In our region Moses Mabhida‚ should branches be granted permission to be part of the provincial conference we are going to challenge that‚” he said.

He said unless the issue of political instability in the province in general and the Moses Mabhida region in particular was addressed‚ Moses Mabhida should not take part in the provincial conference.

“Should the national and provincial leadership fail to attend to these grievances‚ it will leave us with no option but to seek legal avenues to address the outstanding issues‚” he said.

“It’s not our interest as ANC activists to take this matter to court because we understand that there are pending engagements. For example‚ we’re expecting direct communication from the head office or provincial task team as branches to say ‘the conference is afoot on this date‚ this is how your delegation as branches has been constituted’.”

Moses Mabhida‚ which has been identified as problematic by the ANC alongside the Harry Gwala‚ eThekwini and Lower South Coast regions‚ has been deeply divided between pro-Cyril Ramaphosa supporters and those who supported former president Jacob Zuma ahead of the party’s national elective conference in Johannesburg last December.

The Moses Mabhida region which is made up of Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas is the third largest in the province after eThekwini and Musa Dladla in Richards Bay.

It has been rocked by a number of politically-related killings which included the recent murder of ANC activist Musawenkosi “Maqatha” Mchunu. Mchunu had led several marches demanding that the Moses Mabhida regional conference be postponed‚ that the ANC regional executive committee be disbanded and that corruption in the municipalities under the uMgungundlovu District be investigated.

Shortly after Mchunu's murder‚ President Cyril Ramaphosa assembled a team of security cluster ministers‚ including National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole to deal with political killings in the province.

ANC PTT co-ordinator Sihle Zikalala said that the party's National Executive Committee had deployed a team to verify branches in Moses Mabhida and other affected regions. Branches that will not go through that verification will not participate but those that will pass the verification will participate, he said.