Johannesburg - Tensions between the ANC in Gauteng and the province’s premier, Nomvula Mokonyane, have re-emerged over the handling of the state memorial service for Nelson Mandela at FNB Stadium two weeks ago.
A senior member of the ANC’s Gauteng provincial executive committee alleged that only its provincial secretary, David Makhura, and its chairman, Paul Mashatile – who is also arts minister – were accredited for the memorial service and that buses to transport supporters from the province were cancelled at the last minute.
The province came under fire after rumours that its members were responsible for booing President Jacob Zuma at the memorial service.
The Gauteng ANC then called for the incident to be investigated by the ANC’s national office, Luthuli House. This week ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said he could not provide any details about the probe at this stage.
But a provincial leader said: “We did ask for accreditation, but it was not allocated.”
“In terms of protocol and security we are always working together regarding the political leadership (for these events). For example, the seating at the stadium. Usually people are seated according to (ANC) regions,” he said.
“Therefore, when there is a need for intervention you are able to phone the regional secretary. But they were not accredited. The buses were cancelled at midnight (the night before).
“Our people were stranded. Nine hundred buses were promised, but they were cancelled at midnight. Ultimately, the state sends buses.”
The provincial leader said ANC members were left stranded at various pick-up points in the province.
Joburg’s head of transport, Lisa Seftel, said the city would not have been involved in providing buses for the Gauteng ANC because it was a government and not a party event.
Seftel, however, said the city had transported about 20 000 people to FNB without any major glitches.
The ANC’s national communications office has denied it prevented provincial leaders from being accredited.
“It was a government event and as the ANC we participated freely like everyone else.
“The event was open to the public or anyone else who wanted to pay their respects to Madiba,” said ANC spokeswoman Khusela Sangoni-Khawe.
“The only people from the ANC who were accredited were staff who needed access to special security areas, but nobody was turned away,” she said.
Government Communication and Information System spokeswoman Tasneem Carrim said lists for accreditation were provided by the ANC, the government and the Mandela family.
A Luthuli House staff member speaking off the record said they suspected the Gauteng government had deliberately left the provincial leaders off the guest lists.
The province is run by Mokonyane, who doesn’t see eye to eye with the provincial party leadership, led by Mashatile.
“Nomvula probably sidelined the ANC, but it wouldn’t be correct to say there are tensions between the provincial executive committee and Luthuli House,” the staffer said.
Gauteng premier’s adviser Zizi Kodwa couldn’t comment about the allegations, because he was in the Eastern Cape on the day of the memorial service. Mokonyane’s spokesman, Thebe Mohatle, did not return messages left for him.