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Magashule supporters in the Free State reject ‘reconstitution’ of branches

Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s supporters have threatened President Cyril Ramaphosa and the party with court action if they don’t stop reconstituting branches in the Free State. Magashule’s supporters embarked on a march to the ANC provincial offices in Mangaung on Friday to demand that the party desist from reconstituting branches in the region and follow the initial road map to the provincial and national conferences scheduled for June and December, respectively.

“You have until Tuesday, May 10, to respond positively to our memorandum and failure to do so will leave us with no option but to approach the courts urgently the same way you were introduced to us, through the courts. You have set the precedence of resolving organisational processes through courts and we shall do the same,” read their memorandum, which City Press has seen.

The protest overshadowed the efforts to unite the party in the Free State and revealed the ugly fights between Ramaphosa and Magashule’s supporters. The protesters gave the party until Tuesday (today) to respond to their memorandum, which was accepted by interim provincial committee convenor Mxolisi Dukwana. The party members who support Ramaphosa told City Press that the protest was an effort to destabilise the work that the interim provincial committee (IPC) is doing in renewing the party.

Ace Magashule. Photo: Mlungisi Louw

They accused IPC coordinator Paseka Nompondo of being behind the protests. This whole thing started when talks that Nompondo is going to be removed from the IPC surfaced because he is always trying to work against the committee.

Some of the list of demands included the removal of IPC convenor Dukwana. They claimed that Dukwana manipulated the provincial ANC IEC list to make room for himself and fired Mojalefa Buti and took over the place of Thandi Reachable, who was next on the list to go into the provincial legislature.

City Press has established that the march was triggered by allegations that there were efforts to remove Nompondo from the structure after he was accused of trying to pull away from the mandate of reuniting. Some party members accused Nompondo, who is a close ally of Magashule, of instigating branch members in the region to march to the provincial office while he was protecting the interests of the former secretary-general and not that of the party.

The marchers handed a memorandum with a list of demands, which included the disbandment of the IPC, interim regional structure (IRC) and the interim provincial working committee (IPWC).

“We have come here today to declare that the reconstitution of branches in the Free State would be unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional. We have various letters from the highest office of the ANC, mainly the secretary-general’s office endorsed by the NEC since 2020, with a clear directive to the provincial structures about the disbandment of branches contrary to your resolve and media statement as taken and publicised on April 11 and 12, respectively.”

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The protesters argued that the interim structures are dividing the party more than uniting it. “They have failed to unite the caucus of the ANC, have brought divisions and make serious threats to fire the ANC councillors, which is the power they don’t have. “The purpose for which you have appointed the IRC has lapsed and they have overstayed their welcome. They have developed and shamed the organisation by appointing their faction and themselves as ghost workers in the municipality.”

They argued that both IPC and IPWC have no authority to overrule directives by the secretary-general’s office. Magashule’s supporters want the branches to remain as they are. “We have branches that are in good standing and they shall continue to remain so. They are ready to undergo the processes to renew their mandates to be properly constituted without doubt and in preparation for their regional and provincial conferences, national policy conference, national general council and the national conference.”

They argued that they are protesting because of frustration with the persistent failure of the IPC/IPWC to address the pressing matters of keeping branches alive and only focusing on creating parallel structures in the entire province. The protesters believe that the recent visits by Ramaphosa through government programmes were an abuse of power to push his ambitions:

We have observed that two former ANC presidents (Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe) visited the Free State and our Mangaung region in particular to address renewal and unity and none of the branches was addressed nor invited by them. But, those who call themselves Ramaphosa supporters claimed that Magashule was behind the march after meeting “his ice boys and girls in Mangaung”. Dukwana was captured in a video telling the marchers that he and the IPC were appointed by the ANC NEC, “whether the marchers liked it or not”. ANC spokesperson Oupa Khoabane was not available for comment.

Sources:

https://www.news24.com/citypress/politics/magashule-supporters-in-the-free-state-reject-reconstitution-of-branches-20220509

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ANC Ace Magashule Free State Magashule Mxolisi

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