Infighting is over 'incomes' that comes with positions
By Khaya Xaba
The streets of several townships in Tshwane were burning after the announcement of the name of an African National Congress (ANC) stalwart Thoko Didiza on Monday 20 June by the ANC as its mayoral candidate for the capital city in the 3 August local government elections. At least one person was reportedly shot dead in this ANC versus ANC infighting.
It would be simplistic to suggest that the internal divisions and the violence engulfing the ANC in Tshwane emanate from Didiza's name. In fact her name may not necessarily be the primary problem. The ANC in Tshwane has been deeply divided. Relations with its allies have broken down or reduced to relations with factions within the REC.
It would similarly be simplistic to suggest that Didiza's name was brought about as an intervention only after the three names of the ANC deputy regional chairperson Mapiti Matsena, followed by Karin Littler and Susan Ngobeni submitted by the regional executive committee (REC) to the provincial executive committee (PEC) were not accepted. The fact is that Didiza's name has been doing rounds long before the three names were not accepted.
The situation dealt a blow to the relevance under the circumstances of the ANC's 52nd national conference resolution on the selection of mayoral candidates. The resolution empowered RECs to submit three names to PECs to make final decisions on mayoral candidates based on the names submitted. Neither does the resolution provide for RECs to consult ANC alliance partners, or its own branches for that matter, in identifying the names and for meaningful participation by alliance partners in final decision making.
Interventions appointing a candidate outside of the three names were not foreseen. The death knell of the resolution, which did not provide for that intervention, sounded in Nelson Mandela Bay when the current mayor, Danny Jordan was brought in to ensure a turnaround under similar conditions.
Strictly speaking the interventions are against the ANC's own resolutions despite the fact that they may be useful under the respective circumstances. The ANC must learn from this in making binding resolutions in future!
Also, the exclusion of its alliance partners in the text of the "three-name resolutions" on identifying mayoral and premier candidates respectively is a sensitive issue that the ANC should not ignore. It must be addressed.
After the passing of the "three-name resolutions" in Polokwane, those who wanted to decide who mayors or premiers should be without consulting not only ANC alliance partners but also its branches had to fight for control over its RECs or PECs respectively. Some linked this to access to scarce public resources such as appointments, employment, contracts and tenders, under the yoke of patronage. Lobbying promises are broken when someone else is brought in. It appears as if the warring leaders and their supporters are fighting to serve the people, while in essence they are fighting for the "income" that comes with ascendency to the positions in the tussle.
While Matsena seemed to enjoy majority support in the REC, recommending him, according to media reports as a top name for mayoral candidate, recent developments point to Ramokgopa having majority support among branches. Some of the people who participated in the turbulence following the announcement of Didiza's name believed that their branch meetings or their outcomes were manipulated. The regional list conference was apparently not properly concluded because of disputes relating to some candidates who were supposedly not nominated by branches. Complaints that papers from some branches were reportedly missing are well-known. It is believed that this was a deliberate act. Some branches were actually ordered to reconvene.
ANC alliance partners expressed strong opposition to manipulation in selection processes. They are affected because those are not narrowly ANC's processes only but theirs too as led by the ANC. Together with the ANC they have to ensure a meaningful consultation takes place. The fact is that if the ANC loses, like it happened in the Western Cape, they too will lose!
Khaya Xaba is YCLSA National Spokesperson
This article also appeared on the Thursday June 23rd edition of the Sowetan