Poll e-mail stirs ANC ire

Mabuyane furious over task team member’s scathing election postmortem

A glum, frank assessment of how the ANC came to lose power in Nelson Mandela Bay has infuriated ANC Eastern Cape secretary Oscar Mabuyane, who is adamant that it was “ill-discipline” to apportion blame on individuals and not take collective responsibility.

Mabuyane was responding to ANC regional task team (RTT) member Crispian “Chippy” Olver’s e-mail to the rest of the team, blaming the loss on a poor election machinery, President Jacob Zuma’s poor media profile and the “Fifa scandal”.

Olver was also scathing of the ANC provincial leadership for “crudely tampering with the popular outcomes” of branch meetings where councillor candidates were elected and for “imposing candidates aligned with their own interests”.

He sent the e-mail to the task team on August 8, days after the ANC suffered a massive bruising in the local government elections.

The party’s support dropped 11% compared with 2011.

Olver declined to comment on the e-mail yesterday, saying it was part of an internal assessment and was not for public circulation.

In his e-mail, he listed eight reasons why the ANC lost out in the elections, including:

  • ANC supporters were disgruntled and complacent and felt that the party had become too “absorbed” in its own self-serving interests;
  • The election machinery was weak, particularly at a branch level, and there were misleading reports of structures in place which did not, in fact, exist;
  • Many regional leaders did not pull their weight and RTT convener Vuyani Limba disappeared for the last two weeks of the campaign. Many functions were performed in silos;
  • There was poor marketing and communications. The marketing campaign started too late and never quite caught up with the DA in terms of visibility;
  • The moral shenanigans of the national leaders were underestimated. The leadership was ambivalent about local corruption issues;
  • Danny Jordaan was not a winning formula for the township voters and did not make significant inroads in the northern areas. The regional leadership was ambivalent about using Jordaan’s face for the campaign, while Jordaan failed to work with the ANC campaign machinery;
  • The province continued to interfere in the running of the elections, making some “disastrously bad” appointments to run the election machinery; and
  • A number of ANC leaders at branch and regional level were actively trying to sabotage the campaign. Good comrades were driven away into the hands of the opposition or into standing as independents.

Mabuyane has lambasted Olver for distributing his election postmortem, knowing that there was a real chance it could be leaked to the media.

“That was ill-discipline of the highest order. [The] ANC won’t tolerate and allow this going on [unabated], and comrades who behave like mavericks in our movement will be brought to book,” he said.

“[The] ANC, as a national revolutionary liberation movement, needs a high level of morality and revolutionary discipline.

“[The] NEC has instructed all structures to take collective responsibility on the [voter] decline and denounce any populist posture by any member.

“We condemn his behaviour in the most strongest possible terms.

“He is not doing this for the first time, and we called him [to] order last time.”

In January, Olver warned the ANC – in an e-mail to the RTT – that if the factional battles continued, the party would be forced into a coalition government after the municipal elections.

The letter, which was also leaked to the media, said the voters’ wrath would be felt at the ballot box if the “corrupt clique” emerged victorious at the planned elective conference.

The January e-mail read: “The ANC in the metro is in serious danger of losing the upcoming elections because of different factions continuing to vie for control.”

Mabuyane said Olver was warned against writing letters after the January letter surfaced.

“He knew that the letter could be leaked, especially when [he] sent it to everyone,” he said.

“We don’t participate in the ANC by writing each other letters when we have platforms to raise such matters.

“We call [on] all our members to refrain from behaving like loose cannons and exercise restraint.

“We must use ANC internal processes to raise our concerns about matters of the organisation.”