ROAD TO 2024 ELECTIONS
Mbalula warns Western Cape ANC: ‘You are fighting for nothing and yet the power is gone’
The ANC Western Cape elective conference finally commenced on Saturday amid allegations of vote-buying. ANC Secretary- General Fikile Mbalula delivered the keynote address at the conference, which has also been marred with lengthy delays due to registration and accommodation woes.
ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula used his address to plead with the dysfunctional ANC in the Western Cape to get its house in order.
Mbalula said the DA, which has governed the province since 2009, is governing without being challenged by the opposition (ANC).
“You are busy fighting for nothing and yet the power is gone,” he told the delegates. “The DA is chasing us everywhere in the country (where we govern); we can feel them. Even with lies and distortion, they are there.”
Mbalula believes that some of its members have used money to influence the party’s provincial structures.
“Some of you will get money and, come Monday, it will be finished. At least take the money, but put the organisation first and understand where you are going.”
Mbalula took the hard line on issues around members who are not toeing the party line, adding that they would not tolerate unacceptable behaviour.
Mbalula said National Executive Committee (NEC) members present at the conference were not deployed by the NEC, but he did not name them. He said he will keep a watchful eye on them to ensure they do not misbehave and try to cause confusion.
“We cannot afford the ANC to be delayed any longer in the Western Cape. The leadership that will come out here, with all its imperfections, we will correct it along the way.”
Conference marred by delays
Day one of the troubled conference on Friday went to waste as the party could not commence with the programme. At around 10.30pm, provincial convenor Lerumo Kalako announced that some delegates did not have accommodation as their hotel rooms were occupied by the so-called friends of delegates.
But the delegates who were inside the conference venue heckled, arguing that this was an attempt to collapse the conference.
This first day had delays of more than 10 hours and, in the end, the programme could not commence. The conference itself lacked vibrancy with a handful of delegates singing around the venue.
Friends of delegates are party members who are not conference delegates but hang around the conference venues lobbying for support for their preferred candidates.
“Comrades are sitting in hotels,” announced Kalako. “The problem they are creating is that some of them are friends of delegates. I was confronted by voting delegates from the Boland and Overberg (regions) whose rooms were occupied by other people.”
A number of delegates heckled, objecting to his statement and waving keys to their hotel rooms saying they have their keys.
“I call on all regional secretaries to walk with me to all the hotel rooms and take everybody in the room down and sort them out with the hotel’s staff.”
The ANC has been in decline in Western Cape for over a decade. It’s finally hosting its provincial conference this weekend to elect new leaders who, it hopes, can revive its electoral chances #ANC9thProvConference pic.twitter.com/HsuOmjPoML
— Veve (@LudidiVelani) June 23, 2023
The ANC has been in decline in the Western Cape for more than a decade. It’s finally hosting its provincial conference this weekend to elect new leaders who, it hopes, can revive its electoral chances.
In the report that the province submitted to the party’s national executive committee last year, there was an assessment of the weaknesses, which include entrenched factionalism and the manipulation of internal democratic process in the organisation.
The Western Cape ANC has been in a predicament as its branches were almost nonexistent.
The leadership of the province was dissolved in 2019 after their term of office expired and public spats among its leaders started to get out of control. The ANC NEC then appointed an interim provincial committee.
Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC Western Cape to finally convene elective conference to ‘rebuild and renew’ leadership
Police Minister and ANC NEC member Bheki Cele, one of the NEC members deployed in the Western Cape, walked out not pleased with the outcome. He jokingly called journalists to join him in the hotels to remove the people who are not meant to be there.
Province vows to deal with vote-buying
Meanwhile, the provincial spokesperson Sifiso Mtsweni vowed to clamp down on the use of “dirty money” to influence the outcomes of the provincial conference.
The party has also barred delegates from wearing regalia bearing the faces of candidates contesting positions or promoting factions.
“We have a discussion document that will be in one of the commissions that will discuss the influence of money and how it eroded the fibre of the ANC,” he said.
In its discussion documents, the ANC said the “demon of money” should be buried and forgotten.
ANC Western Cape spokesman Sifiso Mtsweni says they do not want money to influence the conference. For many years, the ANC was marred with allegations of vote buying during its conferences #ANCWC9thProvConference pic.twitter.com/phQIPoGw7D
— Veve (@LudidiVelani) June 23, 2023
“Money is the antithesis of everything the ANC stands for. This discussion must begin the process to not only talk about it, but as a statement that we condemn and call for sterner action against those who do this and are known.”
He asked delegates, including the media, to come forward if they have any information about people who use money to influence the conference.
The conference is expected to be attended by 700 delegates, and 650 will be delegates from the branches, the regional executive committees, IPC and the leagues.
The remaining 50 will be guests from the alliance partners, fraternal organisations and key stakeholders. DM