JOHANNESBURG, November 14 – Although the African National Congress (ANC) is disappointed by the SA Communist Party (SACP) decision to go solo and contest Free State’s Metsimaholo municipality by-elections next month, the governing party will ”further engage” with its alliance partner again, said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.
“The ANC NEC (national executive committee) views this (SACP) decision as regrettable, particularly in a marginal municipality such as Metsimaholo. In line with the decision of the Alliance Political Council held last month, the NEC has called for a follow-up meeting to be held without delay,” Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
“The ANC must further interrogate and engage the resolution of the SACP on [contesting] state power and its implications for the alliance. The ANC remains committed to engaging the SACP on this matter and ensure that the alliance, united and strong, continues to provide the leadership society requires from it.”
Following its elective conference decision to contest future polls alone for the first time, the SACP has lined up 42 candidates to contest the Sasolburg municipality by-elections at the end of this month.
Tensions within the ANC-led tripartite alliance saw the vanguard party take a decision to contest future elections alone at its July elective conference held in Ekurhuleni.
The SACP, once staunch supporters of President Jacob Zuma, having helped him ascend to power in 2009, has since become sharp critics of his presidency and party leadership. The party, along with the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), the third member of the tripartite alliance, have called for Zuma to step down as allegations of state capture and corruption scandals mount against him.
The Free State provincial government dissolved the Metsimaholo coalition municipality in July after it failed to adopt its 2017/2018 budget.
As the 24-hour deadline ticks away for African National Congress (ANC) branches to complete nominations for the party leadership ahead of the December elective conference, at least 70 percent of branches have managed to conclude the process.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe confirmed on Tuesday that there would be no deadline extensions for provinces lagging behind, but that there would be ”a grace period” until the weekend.
”Provinces are expected to complete this process by the deadline of tomorrow, 15 November 2017. We note challenges of convening BGMs (branch general meetings) during the week and have agreed to a grace period to, at the very latest, the end of this weekend, Sunday 19th November 2017, to complete all BGMs,” Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg following an extended ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting.
”This is done to allow sufficient time to consider appeals, all of which must be lodged within 48 hours of the disputed BGMs, and to prepare for the provincial general councils.”
At least 5,240 voting delegates are expected at the much awaited conference in Johannesburg in mid-December. Ninety percent of them would be delegates elected at branches.
As the conference draws nearer, disputes over elected regional and provincial leadership continue to mar the governing party. Teams have been appointed to attend to disputes in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape, said Mantashe.
He rubbished reports that ANC NEC member Fikile Mbalula was placed in charge of resolving the Eastern Cape’s disputed election outcome.
”The NEC resolved to institute an appeal panel in the Eastern Cape which will be composed of four NEC members supported by three (technical resource persons). The four NEC members are comrades Sbu Ndebele (chairperson), Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Joyce Moloi-Moropa and Sdumo Dlamini…there is no other person but these four names only.”
Regarding KwaZulu-Natal’s lower South Coast region, which has emerged as backers of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mantashe said the NEC received the region’s report on its appeal against its disbandment by the KZN Provincial Executive Committee (PEC).
”The region was, however, expected to continue doing its work in all other areas, including the overseeing of BGMs as we prepare for conference. After deliberation on the report, the NEC resolved to affirm the decision of the PEC that the region must convene a regional conference within six months… the PEC shall exercise oversight over the municipality.”
The elective conference, where President Jacob Zuma’s successor will emerge, will be held in Johannesburg next month.