Gwede Mantashe is angry due to what Zuma did
The secretary-general’s conflict with Andile Lungisa in Nelson Mandela Bay appears to be clear evidence of the rift in the ruling party.
Following the election of Andile Lungisa, a member of the ANC’s Eastern Cape provincial executive committee (PEC), as chairman of the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) metro regional executive committee (REC), ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe appears to be on the warpath.
He has reported Lungisa to the party’s top disciplinary body.
Lungisa officially accepted a nomination for the lower structure position in Nelson Mandela Bay despite the ANC’s top leadership warning that it went against the party’s constitution. The ANC’s regional elective conference took place in Port Elizabeth over the weekend.
Lungisa, a former ANC Youth League deputy leader, was elected when voting finally took place in the early hours of Sunday morning.
When Lungisa’s name was called,the majority of delegates in the conference room cheered in support of him. Earlier on Saturday, Lungisa indicated to media that he had decided to decline the nomination. But a few hours later he was in the running along with Tony Duba, and in the election beat Duba by 71 votes to 57.
Speaking to reporters after his election, Lungisa defended himself, saying: “The matter of electing any member of the ANC resides with the branches of the ANC. There is no individual who is above the structures of the ANC. When the call was made by structures of the ANC I had to respond to that call,” he said.
The ANC’s amended constitution states that people in higher structures may not contest positions in lower structures.
“A member elected to a PEC shall resign from any position held in a lower structure,” it reads.
In a letter sent to all provincial structures earlier, Mantashe had said any attempt to resign from the PEC to be able to stand for a position at a regional conference should not be allowed.
However, Lungisa said he was not focused on “issues of the letter”.
“Those were internal issues which were attended [to] in this conference. Our main focus now is to rally the people of Nelson Mandela Bay metro behind the new elected leadership.
The REC in Nelson Mandela Bay was disbanded by President Jacob Zuma more than two years ago following years of factional battles and dwindling party membership numbers. While it was obvious that Lungisa had strong support from within party structures, some delegates were visibly perturbed by his nomination.
Zuma later endorsed the election of Lungisa, despite this apparently being contrary to the ANC constitution.
Zuma was addressing delegates on Sunday at the ANC’s regional elective conference in Port Elizabeth. Making eye contact with Lungisa, Zuma said the party looked at “quality, energy, and consistency” when electing leaders.
After receiving a report he was happy with the outcome of the elective conference where “everything had run smoothly”. The ANC needed to strive for unity in order to regain lost ground, Zuma said.
“In other words we choose the leader because we can explain why. A leader we can say is going to make us deliver on our programmes and policies. If the majority has spoken, it has spoken. Ours is to respect that decision and take it as our own for the health of the organisation. We are in trying times as the organisation that must be clear to us,” Zuma told the cheering crowd.
The Eastern Cape PEC said it would wait to be advised on the way forward once it had received the elective conference report. ANC eastern Cape secretary Oscar Mabuyane said the decision could not be allowed to go unchallenged because it would set a wrong precedent.
The Herald has now reported that Lungisa could be hauled before the party’s national disciplinary committee to explain why he personally attacked Mantashe days before his election.
Lungisa alleged in a letter that Mantashe had misinterpreted the ANC’s rules and he also claimed Mantashe was motivated by factional interests.
He attempted to apologise for his stance afterwards, but Mantashe has apparently not accepted the excuse that Lungisa was in the middle of a heated campaign.
In a “confidential letter” sent to Lungisa on Friday, which has emerged on social media, the secretary-general condemned Lungisa’s behaviour as contemptuous.
The letter represents clear evidence that Mantashe and Zuma are at odds, since Zuma was so clearly impressed by the election of Lungisa.
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