'New chapter' as Western Cape ANC gets interim leadership

15 August 2019 - 19:31 By ANDISIWE MAKINANA
The structure comes just three months after the party posted its poorest electoral performance in the province when it garnered a measly 28% in the national and provincial elections held on May 8.
The structure comes just three months after the party posted its poorest electoral performance in the province when it garnered a measly 28% in the national and provincial elections held on May 8.
Image: Stephanie de Sakutin

The ANC in the Western Cape has new leaders – an interim structure tasked with making sure an elective conference is held within the next nine months.

The structure comes just three months after the party posted its poorest electoral performance in the province when it garnered a measly 28% in the national and provincial  elections held on May 8. Its establishment also comes two months since the term of the last provincial executive ended. A provincial conference which was scheduled for June was deferred to September due to the election campaign, said the ANC at the time.

Announcing the 30-member team on Thursday, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said: “We are starting a new chapter in rebuilding and renewing the ANC. We have men and women who are now going to drive this project.”

He explained that while the interim provincial committee has nine months to ensure that ANC branches go to conference, if they are ready before the nine months are up, with a new membership system, then the conference would be held.

The team is a mix of young and old ANC leaders, including veteran former MP James Ngculu who led the provincial ANC in the 2000s at the height of the debilitating factional battles. He is however lauded by some in the ANC for personally rising above those factions, although in the end they cost the party at the polls.

Other noticeable names are former Western Cape premiers Lynne Brown and Ebrahim Rasool, who preceded Ngculu as chairperson of the Western Cape ANC, former provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile and a number of members from the provincial executive committee that was disbanded two weeks ago. Former Hawks boss Anwar Dramat is also there and so is the former head of justice in the province, Hishaam Mohamed.

“We are bringing them back because they had been leaders of the ANC and we have confidence in them that they can take us forward, working with the collective,” said Magashule when asked about the return of former leaders.

The team will be led by former ANC MP Lerumo Kalako who is the convenor of the team. Kalako is an old hand who was the provincial secretary of the ANC in the 1990s serving under the Allan Boesak-led provincial ANC of the time. A little-known Stellenbosch councillor Ronalda Nalumango is the coordinator.

Kalako later acknowledged to TimesLIVE that the road ahead would not be easy. “Our task is simple and straightforward but difficult,” he said.

“It is to make sure that the ANC in the province is revived into a strength which it used to be before, so that we can be able to clearly contest for power again in the province.”

Kalako said the ANC could only do that when it was united and unity was its focus. “That is not an easy task, it's a difficult task,” he said.

At least one of the ANC's alliance partners, the SA Communist Party, has rejected the interim structure, labeling it an “omni shambles”.

SACP provincial secretary Benson Ngqentsu said the interim committee represented “an old wine in a new bottle".

“The SACP in the Western Cape has noted the appointed team to rebuild the ANC in the province. By its form and outlook, it is an omni shambles,” said Ngqentsu in a statement.

“We believe that the list represents nothing but a 'recyclement' of all those who have been part of the declining ANC.”

Ngqentsu queried the credibility of some of the members which he said was  “questionable”.

“Some have actively plunged the movement into paralysis and therefore bringing them back will sink it even deeper into crisis.”

Ngqentsu singled out former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown and Maurencia Gillion, the erstwhile provincial treasurer who was suspended by the then provincial working committee, over a R1m donation to the party by businessman Iqbal Surve, and later reinstated by another structure.


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