Editorial: ANC trapped in cycle of infighting

Nelson Mandela Bay will in all likelihood hold by-elections in a number of wards which were won by the ANC in the recent local government elections.

On Friday, we reported that the party had presented its councillors with an investigative report which found that the process of selecting some of them prior to the election was flawed.

While regional leaders deny this, insiders say at least four councillors have so far been asked to step down.

Such a decision stems from a promise made by party leaders to supporters that should any of its candidates be subsequently found to have been selected unfairly, they would be asked to resign to give space for those who enjoy community support to take over.

While it is incumbent on the party to ensure that the will of the people is reflected in its choice of councillors, correcting the mess it has created might not be an easy process.

So far it is unclear whether those who were asked to step down will do so willingly, thus giving up a seat in council and the salary it comes with.

Choosing to fight the decision would be a futile exercise on their part as the ANC would simply fire them, declare the seat vacant, leading to a by-election.

Such a move, however, would likely cause further ructions in the party.

As happened in KwaNobuhle before, the move would open the ANC up to the possibility of losing control of wards to the current incumbents should they stand as independent candidates against the party.

With the ANC toppled from the seat of power it occupied in the last two decades, the outcome of this process will have no significant bearing on the power dynamics in our city.

However, it does give further insight into the selfdestructive inner workings of the ANC.

And, crucially, how its structures are trapped in a chaotic cycle of infighting which undermines their very legitimacy.

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