The ANC in the Eastern Cape, which lost the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to the DA in the recent local government elections, has lost more than 50% of its membership in five years — from 225 000 in 2012 to a mere 105 000 as at last month.
This is according to the party’s preliminary audit outcomes.
ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane said the sharp decrease was a result of membership rigging.
But he said the picture might improve between now and June, as the national executive committee which met last weekend had told provinces to deal harshly with gate keepers.
He described gate-keeping as the tendency by regional secretaries, organisers and branch secretaries to destroy or hide membership information of all those they view as supporting rival factions during audit processes.
Mabuyane said one of the reasons for the decline was branches with fewer than 100 people.
He said in the Alfred Nzo region where the membership audit was finalised last week, 10 branches were left out as they had fewer than 100 members.
The ANC constitution dictates that for a branch to be declared in good standing it must have more than 100 members.
The region is due to elect its new leaders in May, meaning the 10 branches would be left out of this process. ANC membership costs R12 a year. “We have noticed that some branch secretaries fail to do their job of reminding members to renew their membership on time [and] as a result some memberships lapse,” Mabuyane said.
“We have noticed that this is done intentionally in cases where a member has a different view on leadership preferences to the secretaries.”
These developments come on the eve of yet another watershed elective provincial conference scheduled for July.