‘Hopeless and out of touch’ – Is Western Cape ANC dead and buried?
Factionalism has left the ANC leaderless in the Western Cape.
Picture: Michel Bega
Picture: Michel Bega
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The African National Congress (ANC) in the Western Cape has been decimated and is following the path of leaderless party leagues that are unable to hold elective conferences.
University of Cape Town (UCT) politics expert Nkosikhulule Nyembezi says the governing party remains “hopeless” in the DA-led province.
Western Cape is the party’s only province that is yet to hold a conference after postponements at least six times.
Administrative problems and recurring issues at branch general meetings persist.
Nyembezi says internal and external problems have rendered the ANC ineffective and unable to challenge the DA.
Factionalism is rife, with the removal of the few party leaders affecting its functioning in the province.
“The ANC has been squabbling in the Western Cape and each time that happens, the vocal faction is removed.
“Nomaindia Mfeketo, Ibrahim Rasool, Mcebisi Skwatsha and others were sent to national government.”
Unfortunately, that has left the party leaderless with nothing happening on the ground.
“Internally, they have control over who and where they recruit members, the quality of branches and so on, but they fail to effect that.”
Nyembezi says those in the legislature occupying the opposition benches are aloof and not in touch with the masses.
All the ANC does in the legislature is just “howl”, he adds.
“The party is not doing a good job as an opposition. They are so out of touch with communities on the ground.
“They are hopeless and ineffective in the legislature and just howl.”
While other parties infiltrate communities, the ANC fails to capitalise on the mushrooming informal settlements and attract support, he says.
“This province is unique compared to others. Here, one can survive without a permanent job and do temporary work, come back with bread to put on the table.
“It’s very difficult to do that in Gauteng. These people live in Western Cape informal settlements that are encroaching on protected parks and private land.”
Former ANCYL member and activist Loyiso Nkohla, who was murdered last month, tried to mediate after people invaded railway tracks and built shacks.
“He was part of the last cohort of activists. The ANC is nowhere to be found, it has lost the plot,” says Nyembezi.
ANC provincial spokesperson Sifiso Mtshweni denies that his party is hopeless, adding that the problems in the province are historical.
Mtshweni says the party is facing circumstances in the Western Cape that are different to other provinces.
“You might remember that the ANC in this province has been in a predicament. Even under former president [Nelson] Mandela, the ANC Western Cape got only 33% of support in the 1994 elections.
“What is considered a national minority is a majority in the Western Cape. We can’t have the same approach similar to, for example, the Eastern Cape.”
The province postponed its conference several times ahead of the national conference in Nasrec, after it emerged that most branches were non-existent.
A small group was in Nasrec to represent Western Cape.
The last conference date announced by party secretary-general Fikile Mbalula in January was 30 April, and that has also passed with no conference sitting.
According to Mtshweni, branch meetings were concluded on Sunday, with only audit reports outstanding.
He said the conference will sit from 2 to 4 June.
However, there is little hope the ANC will ever return to power in the province since its brief four-year stint that ended in 2009.
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