Saturday, April 09, 2016

’Stop Airing Grievances in the Media’, Joburg ANC Tells Branches
Apr 8, 2016
Penelope Mashego
Business Day Lives

ANC in Johannesburg calls for its branches to stop airing their grievances through the media ahead of planned branch-to-branch interactions to contain growing discontent among members

AHEAD of planned branch-to-branch interactions to contain growing discontent among members, the African National Congress (ANC) in Johannesburg on Friday called for its branches to stop airing their grievances through the media.

This comes after the Sefako Makgatho branch shared a letter it had written to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. The letter, sent out earlier this week, urged President Jacob Zuma to step down as president of the ANC and the country.

Members of the ruling party find themselves on opposing sides as some defend the president while others call for him to step down.

This follows the Constitutional Court’s recent finding that Mr Zuma had violated his oath of office when he failed to abide by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s ruling that he pay back a portion of the costs incurred during security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead.

Earlier this week, Mr Mantashe warned party members, saying those who insulted the president on public platforms would pay the price.

Mr Mantashe had previously said those urging Mr Zuma to step down were calling for the ANC to "tear itself apart".

Soon after Monday’s extended national working committee (NWC) meeting, Mr Mantashe said the party would be going to its grassroots structures to communicate its position on the Constitutional Court judgment.

In a statement, the secretary of the Johannesburg region, Dada Morero, said the branches will get an opportunity to share their concerns at a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting due to be held next month.

"The views of our structures and those of other provinces will be tabled at the May NEC meeting. The REC (regional executive committee) therefore calls upon all branches and structures in the region to desist from engaging and communication with our leadership through the media," said Mr Morero.

However, Ian Nonkumbi, secretary of the Harry Themba Gwala branch said there needed to be consistency on how the party dealt with members who were found to have done something wrong.

He said when former ANC Northern Cape chairman John Block was found guilty of corruption and fraud, he resigned. Likewise, Marius Fransman was suspended after allegations of sexual assault while Andile Lungisa’s resigned when he faced charged of fraud and money laundering.

"The ANC should be consistent (on how it deals with wrongdoers in the party)," said Mr Nonkumbi.

He also said branches had the right to speak to the media because they are part of a democracy and are protected by freedom of speech.

The branches, said Mr Nonkumbi, also have not had a chance to express their views on the Constitutional Court’s finding — and not just the ANC Women’s League and other structures.

He said the party should see it as a positive that its members were raising issues and were not just coming from "opportunistic opposition parties".

"We want to make sure that if anyone in the movement has to account for something (then they are held accountable)," he said.

Contacted on Friday, chairman of the Sefako Makgatho branch Sasabona Manganye said: "We respect the fact that we have to process issues of this matter internally."

An official at the ANC’s Lilliesleaf branch, which has also been critical of the party’s handling of Mr Zuma’s issue, said the branch will speak to the media after next week’s NEC meeting.

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