ANC secretary-general wants new Bay leader to face disciplinary hearing
New ANC regional chairman Andile Lungisa could be hauled before the party’s top disciplinary body soon to explain why he personally attacked secretary-general Gwede Mantashe just days before his election at the weekend.
In a confidential letter sent to Lungisa on Friday, Mantashe slammed his behaviour as contemptuous. Mantashe said in the letter that not only had he reported Lungisa to the ANC’s top six, he had also laid a charge for what he said was a personal attack by Lungisa published in The Herald last week.
At issue was Mantashe’s belief that Lungisa should not stand for election because the party’s constitution prohibited him, as a provincial leader, from contesting a seat in the regional str ucture.
But Lungisa would have none of it, suggesting in an earlier letter that Mantashe had misinterpreted the r ules. He also suggested Mantashe was motivated by factional interests.
Lungisa has since apologised to Mantashe, saying he made the remarks in the middle of a heated campaign.
The exchange between the two exposes a more significant rift between President Jacob Zuma, who personally endorsed Lungisa’s election in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, and Mantashe, who appears to believe the election was irregular.
“The rule also does not prohibit a member from contesting any position in any structure in the ANC.”
The day before Lungisa was elected by the majority of branches to lead the ANC in the Bay, Mantashe accused him of being contemptuous by refusing to follow the rule adopted at the par ty’s 53rd national conference.
In his letter. Mantashe said he had reported Lungisa’s posture to the officials of the ANC to avoid making it a personal issue.
“I have further launched a charge to the [national disciplinary committee] on the article in The Herald that attacks me in the person and not the office. “You are breaking the rule knowingly and that cannot be allowed.
“The rule has been applied consistently and you will not be an exception,” he wrote.
He listed other ANC leaders to whom the same rule had been applied.
Lungisa, who had initially said on Saturday afternoon that he would not accept the nomination for the chairmanship, backtracked later after hours of deliberations behind closed doors at the conference.
Asked for comment last night on Mantashe’s letter rebuking him, Lungisa forwarded a letter he had sent to Mantashe yesterday apologising for his comments attacking him personally.
“I wish to place on record that I categorically and without reservation wish to retract the shameful comments I made regarding [Mantashe].
“I know comrade Gwede personally and he has always treated me and many others, particularly the young activists, with respect and empathy that a parent affords their children. “I made my remarks in the middle of a heated political campaign leading to conference,” Lungisa wrote.
He refused to say last night if the apology had been accepted. Asked earlier yesterday if Lungisa’s election would be sanctioned by the national leadership, ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the matter had still to be resolved.
“We are waiting for the report from the officials that officiated from that conference where he was elected. The NEC will take a decision after that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lungisa wasted no time in his new role yesterday, leading a group of about 200 protesters to the Port Elizabeth City Hall over service delivery gripes.
Lungisa, joined by new ANC regional secretary Themba Xathula and Ward 41 councillor Simphiwe Tyukana, threatened to shut down City Hall if their grievances over water restrictions and power cuts were not adequately addressed.
Their other complaints were about the slow pace of housing rectification in the city, and they want ward councillors in charge of the relocation of residents to new housing sites.
They submitted the memorandum with their complaints at about midday. It was received by Selwyn Willis, an employee in the office of the speaker.
Lungisa said the protest was just the beginning.
“If we are not getting answers and this coalition government continues to disregard the needs of the poor, we will be back here – next time there will be many of us,” he said.
“If we are not taken seriously, we will shut down the City Hall.”
Willis said the petition would be responded to within seven days.