Bay ANC officials under fire

STEPS DOWN: Andile Lungisa, left, with acting Nelson Mandela Bay regional chairman Phumzile Tshuni, at a media conference at Florence Matomela House in Port Elizabeth Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI
STEPS DOWN: Andile Lungisa, left, with acting Nelson Mandela Bay regional chairman Phumzile Tshuni, at a media conference at Florence Matomela House in Port Elizabeth
Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI

Mabuyane slams executive for tensions over Lungisa election

ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane has criticised the officials who presided over the election of Andile Lungisa as the ANC chairman of the Nelson Mandela Bay region, saying they failed the organisation and caused unnecessary tensions.

He was speaking after the organisation’s national executive committee (NEC) ordered Lungisa to step down as the regional chairman.

Mabuyane said: “The officials who oversaw the election of comrade Lungisa failed the organisation and caused unnecessary tensions because they had the constitution of the ANC there. All that they were supposed to do was to affirm it.

“[The matter] was not meant to happen because now it has personalised the decisions of the organisation.

“As party secretaries, we always bear the brunt because we are the ones who are making sure the constitution of the organisation is respected.”

Mabuyane said the NEC did not do anything new on this matter, except affirm ANC principles based on its constitution.

The NEC ruling also cast some doubt on the status of the Bay’s regional executive.

“We will decide on the way forward on the status of that conference once we receive the report of the provincial working committee on what actually happened,” Mabuyane said.

Lungisa stepped down yesterday, following his failed bid to get the support of the ANC NEC.

The NEC upheld the decision of its top six, which instructed him to resign, just a day after he was elected.

The matter was referred to the NEC for clarity following a row between Lungisa and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe over his eligibility to run for Bay chairmanship.

A standoff ensued between the two after Lungisa defied Mantashe’s instruction telling him he was forbidden by the ANC constitution to contest a regional position because he was a member of the provincial executive committee. Mantashe said the ANC constitution did not permit individuals serving on senior structures of the organisation to contest for positions in lower structures.

Earlier attempts by the ANC top six and the provincial leadership could not persuade Lungisa to step down.

Lungisa claimed that ANC branches in the region wanted him.

Lungisa has now set his sights on the position of provincial secretary, which is held by Mabuyane, when the party holds its elective congress in July.

Bay deputy chairman Phumzile Tshuni said they had decided to lobby for Lungisa because of his capacity.

“He is so energetic, committed and disciplined. He can be everywhere to provide leadership.”

The region has pronounced its support for Lungisa and it is believed that he also has the support of the Amathole region.

Amathole held their election conference over the same weekend as Nelson Mandela Bay and, after the congress, the region pronounced on backing premier Phumulo Masualle as chairman for a third term and Sakhumzi Somyo to remain his deputy.

It is believed Lungisa has teamed up with Masualle and Somyo.

But Masualle said he was not aware of the composition of a leadership team that puts him and Lungisa together.

He said the matter of positions must be left to branches.

“I prefer that this matter is left to the branches of the organisation to decide who is capable to be elected to what position,” Masualle said.

“It is difficult for me to speak [about] something whose time has not yet come.”

Mabuyane also said it was premature for the Bay region to make its pronouncement.

“We have been trying to tell the regions to leave the matter of party leadership positions to branches,” he said.

Tshuni will take over as interim regional chairman until the party elects someone to replace Lungisa.

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