Eastern Cape ANC leader Andile Lungisa has accused party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe of applying the ANC constitution selectively to serve his faction.
The strong words from the former ANC Youth League deputy president come a day after Mantashe wrote to all provincial structures reminding them of ANC rules forbidding anyone serving in a senior structure to contest an election in a lower structure.
In the letter dated March 8 to provincial secretaries of the ANC and its leagues, Mantashe reminds them of the 53rd national conference resolution which called for an end to ANC members serving in more than one constitutional structure.
The conference resolved to amend the constitution to fix this concern.
The constitution was amended and rule 17.4 now states that “a member elected to the PEC shall resign from any position in a lower structure”.
Lungisa is a provincial executive committee (PEC) member, but several ANC branches in Nelson Mandela nominated him to contest as regional chairman at the elective conference scheduled to begin today.
The province will elect new leaders in June, three months after the Port Elizabeth-based region would have elected its new leaders.
Lungisa confirmed yesterday he would contest as regional chairman because “branches have spoken”.
But Mantashe, in his letter, issued a stern warning, saying “any attempt to resign from the PEC in the run-up to regional conferences must not be allowed, as it is opportunistic. Comrades must be advised that the ANC structures are about serving people not ‘POWER’.”
Lungisa challenged Mantashe’s letter, saying he should have interpreted rule 17.4 along with 5.1 (d) which states that “a member of the ANC is entitled to take part in elections and be elected or appointed to any committee, structure, commission or delegation of the ANC”.
Lungisa said: “No particular clause must be used selectively, and it is wrong for anyone to use the ANC constitution to serve a particular grouping and micro-manage the organisation. If ANC branches want me to serve in a sub-region, I will.
“If [they want me to serve] in the region, I will also do so.”
Lungisa is associated with the “premier league”, a grouping of ANC provincial chairmen comprising Ace Magashule, Supra Mahumapelo and David Mabuza.
The group is believed to be campaigning for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed President Jacob Zuma as ANC president at the national elective conference in December. Mantashe’s name is not in this lineup.
Mantashe confirmed writing the letter, but said: “It is addressed to all provinces, not just the Eastern Cape. This is a challenge we face across provinces and we had to remind ANC structures about this amendment.”
He refused to discuss any questions related to individuals. In the letter, Mantashe advises PECs who were “having problems with this resolution” to propose an amendment at the national conference in December. — firstname.lastname@example.org