Pretoria - ANC branches in the Tshwane region are among those being probed for alleged irregularities and vote-rigging relating to the nomination of leaders for election at the party’s national conference in Mangaung next month.
The Pretoria News has learnt that disputes have been lodged in at least 10 branches throughout the city, where allegations have been made of manipulation of branch memberships and venues and times for meetings.
Among the allegations are that a number of people who could not attend branch general meetings were recorded in the attendance register as being present, and that “ghost members” were included as members in good standing and participated in nominations.
The branches include that in Ward 61 in Atteridgeville - the branch of Tshwane regional chairman and executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa. Some members of the branch are disputing Ramokgopa’s selection as their delegate to the conference.
Ramokgopa is known to support Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe for election as the party’s next president. The branch was one of the first to make its nominations. It nominated Motlanthe as president, with Ramokgopa selected as a delegate to the conference.
Although the regional and provincial leadership could not confirm which branches in Tshwane were disputing the outcomes of the branch general meetings, the Pretoria News understands they include a number in Mamelodi, Soshanguve and Atteridgeville.
In Mamelodi, disputes have been lodged in Wards 15, 17, 18, 67 and 97. In Ward 97, the former member of mayoral committee (MMC) responsible for agriculture in Tshwane, Nkele Malapane, who is known to favour Jacob Zuma for a second term as party leader, was apparently defeated in her bid to become the delegate to the conference.
There is also a dispute in Ward 18, the branch of the deputy city manager responsible for service delivery, Frans Boshielo, who has been accused by the ANC Youth League in Tshwane of being involved in a plot to oust the mayor from his position. He is believed to back Zuma.
In what Zuma supporters in the region have described as a deliberate attempt by the regional and provincial leadership to frustrate the Zuma camp, youth league chairman Sibusiso Ngobeni was the “deployee” at this branch.
Ngobeni recently led a youth league march in the city calling for Boshielo to be removed as a deputy city manager and disciplined by the ANC for his apparent involvement in the alleged plot to oust Ramokgopa.
Ngobeni has been accused of allowing members not registered as branch members into the branch general meetings to stop Boshielo’s being selected as a delegate, while refusing entry to members who did not appear on the list although they could prove they were in good standing. Ngobeni denies this.
“Boshielo did not have the numbers, and there was nothing I could do,” he said. “It shows that the members decided to follow Ramokgopa’s leadership by nominating Kgalema. There were no irregularities there. Boshielo and his people did not have the numbers, but it is their right to lodge a dispute.”
There have also been problems at the Soshanguve branch that includes Sibongile Moselelane, a former MMC believed to have been sacked for her support for Zuma. The branch has lodged a dispute about the outcome of the meeting.
Tshwane regional secretary Paul Mojapelo said on Monday he was not yet aware if any of the branches had lodged allegations of irregularities and disputes.
Mojapelo said that any allegations would be handled by the province, adding that he had no knowledge of Ramokgopa’s branch lodging a dispute.
Gauteng provincial spokesman Nkenke Kekana said the issue of disputes about branch general meetings would be resolved before the period for nominations ended.
“There is no crisis here. This is normal procedure for people to lodge disputes and raise their grievances if they feel something is not right. There seems to be this hype around disputes from the [branch general meetings]. It is a built-in process of nominations, that is why there are processes for these disputes, it is to be expected.”