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Johannesburg - Days after President Jacob Zuma and the ANC national working committee established three task teams to probe complaints of fraud and corruption during branch nomination meetings, the party has been rocked by fresh allegations of irregularities and vote-rigging.
The Star has been reliably informed that some regional leaders tasked with convening meetings to nominate leaders ahead of Mangaung deliberately misled their rivals about venues and meeting times to exclude them.
According to several provincial leaders in provinces such as Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and Free State, some regional executives also convened meetings without the minimum number of members required by the ANC constitution.
This was done to rig the outcome in favour of their preferred candidates ahead of the ANC’s national elective conference next month.
In the Northern Cape’s Frances Baard region – the province’s biggest region, which includes Kimberley – regional executives and the ANC Youth League have accused each other of intimidation and rigging the outcome of branch general meetings.
The meetings – allegedly subjected to gatekeeping and fraud – are held to nominate party leaders, including the top six positions.
President Jacob Zuma is bidding for a second term as ANC leader. It is thought his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, will challenge him.
The Star’s sister paper, The Sunday Independent, reported on Sunday that Zuma and the ANC’s national working committee (NWC) had established three task teams to get to the bottom of the increasing allegations of fraud, corruption and irregularities during branch nomination processes.
The NWC is the party’s highest operational organ.
The NWC action followed written complaints from some of the 3 500 branches countrywide that their meetings were fraudulently constituted and irregularly managed.
Branches have until the end of this month to nominate candidates or face disqualification.
The Star understands that the task teams were made up of national executive committee (NEC) members, including Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor and SA National Civic Organisation leader Ruth Bhengu.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe confirmed the existence of the task teams at the weekend.
He said Luthuli House wanted the teams to “resolve the problems, not to write reports”.
ANC Limpopo secretary Soviet Lekganyane said most of the complaints in his province came from the Waterberg region.
The region, which broke ranks with the provincial leadership and supported Zuma, has alleged that the province had failed to convene its branch nomination meetings.
Lekganyane said there were three other complaints from Sekhukhune, three from Peter Mokaba and two from Vhembe.
Some regional leaders had deliberately misled provincial executive committee members sent to run the branch meetings when it came to times and venues, to manipulate the outcomes.
“For instance, you arrive at a venue at 9am for a meeting at 10am. And they tell you the meeting is over. It happened at a branch in Modimolle.
“That branch has more than 1 000 members. Even if you can start registering members at 6am, there is no way you can complete the process before 10am,” said Lekganyane.
A Frances Baard, Northern Cape, regional leader said three of the region’s 52 branches had complained about rigged nomination outcomes.
He accused ANCYL leaders of having “made themselves conveners and deployees” to the branches.
ANCYL Northern Cape chairman Shadrack Tlhaole denied that league members had rigged elections, saying they had secured nominations for Motlanthe freely and fairly.
Tlhaole said Zuma supporters in various regions in the province, led by John Block, had intimidated Motlanthe’s supporters and threatened them with dismissal from government jobs.
Gauteng ANC spokesman Nkenke Kekana said: “We have received a number of complaints regarding the attendance register. These are members who are not on the register.”
Other complaints, especially from the Sedibeng, Ekurhuleni and West Rand regions, included intimidation and the fraudulent registration of members.
Kekana said provincial ANC leaders were to visit Ekurhuleni and Tshwane on Sunday to “attend to the problems that have arisen so far”.
Mpumalanga ANC secretary Lucky Ndinisa said 70 percent of his province’s 406 branches had made their nominations.
Problems included “comrades who do not appear on the [attendance] register”.
KwaZulu-Natal party secretary Sihle Zikalala, whose province’s regions have faced allegations of vote-rigging, especially in the eThekwini region, refused to talk about the nomination process. He said he would discuss the issue only with the task team.
Free State ANC secretary William Bulwane said he had not received complaints from the branches.
Kabelo Mataboge, the party’s North West secretary, refused to comment because “I do not speak to the media”.