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Tensions rise at ANC policy conference

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Feuding ANC factions over the party’s step-aside rule have turned the sixth policy conference into a battlefield for their own interests.

ANC delegates at the party’s 6th policy conference in Nasrec. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

FEUDING ANC factions over the party’s step-aside rule have turned the sixth policy conference into a battlefield for their own interests.

The tensions between the factions increased on Saturday at Nasrec when KwaZulu-Natal’s ANC provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo called for the stepping aside of the Eastern Cape ANC’s provincial chairperson Oscar Mabuyane over allegation of his involvement in malfeasance related to the memorial fund of the late struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in April 2018.

Mtolo made the assertion following disputed reports that Mabuyane had benefited financially from funds from one of the Eastern Cape’s local municipalities – Mbizana Local Municipality – totalling R3.3 million for the memorial service. It was alleged that more than R450,000 was used to renovate his house.

Mabuyane has vehemently denied the allegations including challenging the report of the suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane – who made adverse findings against Mabuyane. Mkhwebane’s report had since been set aside by the Eastern Cape High Court. Mkhwebane has yet to appeal the finding but Mtolo insists that Mkhwebane’s findings were enough for the party to ensure that Mabuyane steps down.

Mtolo was part of the newly elected provincial elective conference who took a decision to ask the policy conference to scrap the step-aside rule ahead of the party’s national elective conference in December but they face stiff opposition from their own provincial SACP and at five other provincial ANC bodies in the country.

Now, these allegations and counter allegations have divided the ANC provinces into power blocks ahead of the commission on organisation renewal led by Febe Potgieter.

Potgieter’s commission wants ANC members to renew their party membership after every five years in their bid to rid the ANC of corrupt members.

The differences between Mtolo and Mabuyane look set to influence the discussion of the commission on organisational renewal.

Mabuyane said that the step-aside issue was but one among many issues to be discussed at the conference.

“We are also here to talk about renewal. The renewal is inevitable and there is no turning back in the renewal of the ANC and that is a fact. All of us must just accept that it’s a reality for the ANC to keep leading this country.

“Renewal came as a result of our own swot analysis, the diagnosis report and the strategy reports that we have been adopting in these conferences. There is no way that we can coexist with all this malfeasance,” Mabuyane said.

He said the ANC has realised some serious trust deficit with the society and for the ANC to continue claiming to be the leader of society they must bring about a drastic stop to some of the nonsense that has been happening

“We are all here to make sure that the ANC continues to navigate the challenges of our country. We are here for national building and we are working very hard to make sure that our ANC is stable and coherent to lead the country.

“It does not only belong to us as leaders and we are not here to step aside. We are here for the ANC and its renewal and all those issues will be discussed here openly and frankly.

“It’s nonsensical that I must step aside. The step aside has been clearly regulated within the ANC policy. I’m one person that has been to almost all integrity commissions which has never happened to the ANC. I went to the provincial and national integrity commissions presenting myself voluntarily.

“That’s what we are saying if people are saying things about you, volunteer yourself to the integrity committee so you can clear your name.

“I’m not in a faction of the ANC , I’m a leader of the ANC and a provincial chairperson of the ANC in the Eastern Cape. I’m not part of any faction.”

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