ANC top brass meets its Lower South Coast region over the suspension of its powers

The ANC’s Lower South Coast region in KwaZulu-Natal has met with the governing party’s national working committee in a bid to have the suspension of its powers by the provincial leadership set aside.

The meeting was held in the south coast town of Port Shepstone on Monday at the request of the regional executive committee. They had written to Luthuli House requesting intervention after the provincial executive committee suspended their administrative powers two weeks ago.
This means the province and not the region runs the branch general meeting process leading up to regional conference in October and national conference in December. The suspension mirrors similar interventions in Far North and Harry Gwala regions and the dissolution of the Emalahleni region and has been described as ‘’politically motivated’’ by the regional leadership, who are backing deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa in December.

READ MORE: ANC KwaZulu-Natal conference violated party’s constitution, court hears

Regional secretary Mzwandile Mkhwanazi confirmed that the meeting had taken place today at the region’s request, but declined to comment further.

However, an ANC source close to the meeting who cannot be named as he is not mandated to talk to the media told Mail and Guardian the provincial executive committee, led by chairperson Sihle Zikalala, had also attended the meeting.

‘’The NWC took reports from the region and from the province. They are going to sit as the NWC and study the reports next Monday,’’ he said.

The source said the region had asked for the decision to be rescinded and the powers reinstated immediately as the decision had been “irrational and based on opinion and not in facts.”

“This was the first time the region was able to see the report the PEC based their decision. The NWC was made aware of this fact, which did not seem to sit well. We believe they are going to come up with a very good political solution to this situation,” he said.

READ MORE: One square, two sides of ANC split

PEC spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli and national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa failed to respond to calls and text messages from Mail and Guardian at the time of writing.

It is not clear at this stage when the national working committee will meet with the other three regions, all of which have written to Luthuli House requesting intervention. All three claim their powers were removed by the province in response to indications that the regional leadership was gearing up to back Rampahosa, and not former African Union Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in December.

Ramaphosa today failed to address a cadres forum in Gamalakhe township outside Port Shepstone because of the national working committee meeting. The meeting was instead addressed by ANC NEC member and deputy agriculture minister Bheki Cele, who in recent weeks appears to have come out in support of Ramaphosa.

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