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By Getrude Makhafola

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Mangaung ANC’s ultimatum to Luthuli House – stop stalling our conference or face court

Branch members in Mangaung accuse the regional and provincial leaders of rejecting 25 branch meeting outcomes


Disgruntled African National Congress (ANC) branches in Mangaung, Free State have threatened to interdict the party's December conference should the province fail to hold its own by the end of the month. Branch members on Monday accused the interim provincial conference (IPC) of "frustrating and delaying" the convening of BBGMs (branch biennal general meetings) ahead of the crucial conferences. ANC branches discusses and endorse preferred leaders at BBGMs. "As branches we are anticipating that the IPC will not meet the conference date of 30 September 2022 as set by the Court and communicated by them, because they now insist on…

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Disgruntled African National Congress (ANC) branches in Mangaung, Free State have threatened to interdict the party’s December conference should the province fail to hold its own by the end of the month.

Branch members on Monday accused the interim provincial conference (IPC) of “frustrating and delaying” the convening of BBGMs (branch biennal general meetings) ahead of the crucial conferences.

ANC branches discusses and endorse preferred leaders at BBGMs.

“As branches we are anticipating that the IPC will not meet the conference date of 30 September 2022 as set by the Court and communicated by them, because they now insist on rejecting the BBGMs that have successfully convened.

“As a result of this we are saying that we will be ready to approach the Court for a contempt of court order. We are now calling on the NEC to disband the IPC and directly assist branches of the Free State to prepare for conferences through its National Organising Committee,” said James Van Vollenhoven, who is also a former member of the interim regional committee.

ALSO READ: Mangaung council whip voted out through secret ballot

The continued infighting and the disatrous state of the ANC in the province hinder proper preparations for members to take part in the December conference.

All five Free State regions are yet to hold conferences.

‘IPC has its own rules’

The Free State IPC is lead by Mxolisi Dukwana, a former MEC in ex-premier Ace Magashule’s cabinet. Dukwana, a supporter of President Cyril Ramaphosa, was elbowed out of the provincial government after a fallout with Magashule.

Now comrades turned foes, Dukwana testified before the state capture commission of inquiry in 2018, calling Magashule a “blesser to many” for allegedly sourcing money from the public purse through an asbestos auditing contract.

Last year, the governing party appointed him as IPC convenor and he subsequently regained a provincial cabinet post as MEC for Cooperative Governance.

Vollenhoven said as per approved guidelines towards preparations, branches were requested to submit
their roadmaps with dates for their BBGMs, which was done. The branches then proceeded to convene their BBGMs and received their QR codes as per guidelines from Luthuli House.

“There is a roadmap that is adopted and the IPC seems not to be implementing it. They are busy disbanding branches and rejecting the 25 out of 51 BBGMS that have successfully convened all of which are gathered here today.”

“It seems the IPC has its own rules, which we do not know. The 25 branches have not been accepted, maybe they [IPC] realise they wont be elected by the branches, hence their behaviour. We want to put it clear that those that conducted BBGMs are legitimate structures. If it comes to a push, the very same people will be elected.

“We will not be dictated buy a structure that was never part of branch meetings. Guidelines are clear that if you dispute the meeting, you should have been in that meeting, how can you dispute something that you were not a part of?”

READ MORE: Mangaung Metro could be up for grabs as ANC councillors poised to quit in protest

‘ANC only listens through the courts’

Branches in Mangaung succesfully took their interim leaders to court earlier this year, seeking to have the IRC disbanded.

The Free State High Court last month ordered that the regional committee be disbanded and that the reconstituted IRC not disband branches during the implementation of the roadmap leading to the provincial conference.

With the 3 September deadline for party membership confirmation having passed, it is not yet known what the status of the branches looked like in the province.

Mangaung Ward 29 branch secretary Dithaba Mokhutle, who led the court application, said the IPC and the NEC were failing in their duties to unite the party and ensure sucessful conferences.

“It’s clear that the IPC doesnt want us to go to conference. Look at what’s happening across the country, you can see that we do’nt have leaders as the ANC.

“The ANC doesn’t listen, it only listens through courts. The NEC must also be taken to court to make sure we interdict that national conference because it’s our right as individual members to participate in the processes on the ANC .

“Now, we wont have an opportunity to nominate the president we want as Free State members of the ANC..it seems we wont have any say in the national conference, but we wont fold our arms. We will raise funds and make sure we interdict that conference in December.”

None of the speakers would comment on the booting out of Mangaung council whip Vumile Nikelo through a secret ballot last week.

ALSO READ: Free State ANC leaders vow to never take party to court again

‘IPC just wants proper processes’

Responding to the aggrieved branch members, ANC provincial spokesperson Oupa Khoabane said all the IPC wanted from branches was proper adherence to processes, such as holding pre-BBGMs, to avoid litigation.

“At first they told us we were failing to take them to branch conferences [BBGMs] and we did what was required. When we started with the processes there were then many issues coming out of the branches.

“To not following processes wo’nt work. You cannot come up and say you held a BBGM yesterday when there was no IPC member deployed.”

Many IPC members, said Khoabane, reported arriving at branch meetings only to be told that the conference was actually concluded hours ago.

“All these is only happening in Mangaung out of all our regions where the IRC and the IPC are taken to court. It is only when at least 70% of branches are in good standing that there can be regional and provincial confrences and participation at the national conference,” he said.

He said he has never heard about disbanded branches in Mangaung.

NOW READ: Grumbles in Free State over Dukwana’s elevation up ANC’s legislature list

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