The ANC has disbanded its Western Cape leadership following ongoing clashes between senior officials in the province.
The organisation has been weakened in recent years and has lost significant support among voters in the Cape and is the only province not governed by the ANC. The party has not governed the Cape Town metro since 2006 and has been the official opposition in the province since 2009.
The ANC has also not had a permanent provincial chairperson in the Western Cape since 2016, when Marius Fransman was suspended on sexual misconduct charges.
“The NEC [national executive committee] expressed concern on the functioning of the provincial executive committee [PEC] in the Western Cape whose growing internal disintegration turn to play itself out in the public, making it difficult for the PEC to discharge its duties,” the ANC said in a statement after its NEC meeting.
Ahead of the May 8 general elections, the party in the province made several blunders which weakened its campaign to try and loosen the Democratic Alliance’s grip on the region.
Weeks before polls, the party accepted a million-rand donation from controversial businessperson Iqbal Survé, who at the time was under scrutiny by the commission of inquiry into allegations of impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation.
Local leaders were instructed to return the donation, but the money had already been distributed to ANC regions to help with the election effort.
There has also been talk of friction between provincial campaign manager and former Premier Ebrahim Rasool, and the party’s provincial leadership.
Outgoing provincial secretary Faiz Jacobs said the announcement was welcomed as the party was readying itself for fresh leadership elections.
“It is a chance for a fresh start. The PEC was out of its term. It was out of its mandate. It had to renew its mandate before June. But given its close proximity to the May elections it had to focus on the election. It’s a correct decision. It makes sense to have a provincial task team. We are almost at the stage to be ready to have elections.
Jacobs admitted however that the disbandment could also be seen as the ANC NEC losing confidence and patience in a province that has not seen electoral growth in more than a decade.
“It does say about the ANC and the ability to give confidence to the electorate. At the 2016 local government elections we polled the lowest in our history. We stemmed the tide and so a slight increase in 2019. We can only move from that, going forward.” Jacobs said.
In 2019, the ANC received 28.5% of votes in provincial polls, down from 32.9% in 2014.
There are no frontrunners as yet to take up leadership positions in the province.
Cameron Dugmore, the current leader of the opposition in the Western Cape legislature, has in the past expressed interest in the position of provincial chairperson.