ANC regional chairman has until day’s end to resign or face action in party constitution dispute
Nelson Mandela Bay ANC regional chairman Andile Lungisa has until the end of today to resign or face disciplinary action.
However, he is digging in his heels and refusing to acknowledge the ultimatum from the ANC’s Eastern Cape bosses, saying the matter is being handled by national party leaders.
ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane sent a letter to Lungisa on Monday instructing him to step down as regional chairman in line with the decision taken last week by the party’s top six – Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Baleka Mbete, Gwede Mantashe, Jessie Duarte and Zweli Mkhize.
The letter, which has been seen by The Herald, states: “The ANC PEC [provincial executive committee] have considered the matter relating to your elections as the ANC chairperson of [the] Nelson Mandela [Bay] region and the subsequent correspondence from the ANC NEC [national executive committee] officials.
“The PEC officials in their consideration concurred with NEC officials and you are therefore advised to resign from [the] position of chairperson. This decision must be effected latest by Thursday 23 March 2017.
“Failure to heed this advice may lead to disciplinary action being considered against you.”
This follows weeks of letters between Lungisa and secretary-general Mantashe, who is adamant that party leaders who serve on other higher structures of the party are barred by the ANC’s constitution from serving on lower structures.
Lungisa has not yet resigned as a member of the PEC.
Lungisa and Mantashe are at odds over the ANC’s constitution as they interpret it differently.
Asked yesterday if he would heed the call from the provincial and national leaders to step down, Lungisa said the matter was being handled by the NEC, the party’s highest decision-making body between national conferences.
“This is an internal party matter. I’m surprised the letter is with themedia,” Lungisa said.
“The matter is being handled by the ANC NEC, it cannot be handled by different structures of the organisation.”
But Mabuyane told The Herald that if Lungisa did not resign by the end of today, he would have to give reasons why he chose to defy the instruction.
“This is a provincial matter. The national structure has not revoked the PEC’s powers, it was merely giving guidance on constitutional interpretation. If he does not comply we will be forced to act,” he said.
Mabuyane reiterated that the decision was not personal, but about following the ANC’s constitution.
“There will be no ANC in future if anyone is allowed to interpret the constitution [as] he sees fit,” he said.
In a letter Lungisa sent to Mantashe last week, he said his election two weeks ago was presided over by members of both the NEC and PEC.
He wrote: “The question as to my eligibility to contest the position was discussed at the conference in full.
“The decision taken at the duly constituted conference, with the PEC and the NEC fully participating, was that I was eligible to participate in the conference and to stand for election as regional chairperson.”
Lungisa said it was not in the regional executive committee’s powers to dissolve itself.
“If the PEC or the NEC instructs the dissolution of the REC, we shall comply. It is not within our powers to dissolve ourselves,” he said.
Only Lungisa has been asked to resign and not the rest of the REC.