Lungisa vows to stay in the fight

Andile Lungisa Picture: Vathiswa Ruselo / Gallo Images / Sowetan
Andile Lungisa
Picture: Vathiswa Ruselo / Gallo Images / Sowetan

Bid to become ANC chairman in Bay dealt blow as national leaders bar him for still being PEC member

Andile Lungisa’s bid for the ANC’s top spot in Nelson Mandela Bay was dealt a blow as it emerged the party’s national leaders would not – as per the ANC’s constitution – allow him to contest the chairmanship this weekend.

Lungisa, who has been campaigning furiously ahead of the regional conference set to start today, is still a member of the ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC) and is thus barred by the party’s constitution from serving on a lower structure.

In a letter sent to all provincial structures across the country on Wednesday, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe wrote that any attempt to resign from the PEC to be able to stand for a position at a regional conference should not be allowed.

The letter read: “Any attempt to resign must not be allowed as it is opportunistic.

“Any province having problems with this resolution must propose an amendment of the constitution in the national conference or at least raise the issue in the NEC.”

But Lungisa challenged Mantashe’s letter, saying the constitution also allowed members to participate and be elected in any structure of the ANC.

“No particular clause must be used selectively. It is wrong for anyone to use the ANC constitution to serve a particular grouping and micro manage the organisation,” Lungisa said.

“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.”

Lungisa is associated with the premier league, a grouping of ANC provincial chairmen comprising the likes of 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 confirmed writing the letter, but said: “It is addressed to all provinces, not just the Eastern Cape. This is a challenge we are faced with across provinces and we had to remind ANC structures about this amendment.”

He refused to discuss any questions related to individuals implicated.

One of Lungisa’s supporters, Zola Nqini cluster coordinator Simphiwe Madlavu, said they would argue furiously for Lungisa to be allowed to contest.

Madlavu said they had the support of more than 30 branches, and claimed they were leaps ahead of other contesting slates.

However, ANC Eastern Cape secretary Oscar Mabuyane said they had to act within the constitution of the ANC.

“There is no way we can work outside of the constitution,” he said.

“Every PEC member is not allowed to stand for positions in a lower structure.”

He confirmed that Lungisa was still a member of the PEC.

Should Lungisa no longer be in the running, it clears the path for the other two groupings, said to be led by ANC MPL Tony Duba and Mabuthi Dano.

Whoever emerges victorious at the weekend will have significant influence over who the Bay ultimately supports at the ANC’s national elective conference in December, where the party’s next president will be elected.

This weekend’s three-day conference comes more than two years after the last regional executive committee (REC) was disbanded by ANC president Zuma.

Branches have been struggling for months to drum up the numbers needed to hold general meetings so that they can be declared branches in good standing.

Mabuyane said there were 48 eligible branches that would be able to attend the conference.

To hold an elective conference, there needs to be 42 branches out of the 60 to make up the 70% threshold.

Asked if the conference would be going ahead today, Mabuyane said they were pushing very hard for it to happen.

He said three branches had to redo their meetings as disputes had been lodged by some members.

Once it is cleared by the auditors, it would need to be signed off by Mantashe – presumably this morning – before the conference can proceed.

Duba confirmed that he has been approached by a number of branches to contest the chairmanship and would make himself available should he be nominated.

Attempts to reach Dano, who is also believed to be in the running for chairman, were unsuccessful.

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