Durban — The Patriotic Alliance’s (PA) decision to expel KwaZulu-Natal premier candidate Bonginkosi Khanyile has backfired following the resignation of the entire branch in protest at his dismissal.
The PA’s ward 27 branch executive, together with the members in Msunduzi Local Municipality in Pietermaritzburg, have dumped the party in protest at Khanyile’s dismissal.
In a letter addressed to the party’s national leadership last week, seen by the Daily News, the branch executive cited Khanyile’s dismissal as well as the failure of the party to organise transport for members to attend the party’s 10th anniversary rally held at Orlando Stadium in Soweto last year. It was said that they arrived in Johannesburg at 11pm, long after the event had finished.
“This communique seeks to inform you of the decision we have taken as the branch of ward 27 to resign from the organisation effective immediate (sic). The decision has been taken following the decision to expel our premier candidate Bonginkosi Khanyile unfairly and the treatment we have been receiving as patriots in KZN.
“As patriots we feel neglected by the national leadership after having worked so hard and sacrificed so much for the organisation only for our cries and concerns to be ignored. To top it all was the manner in which our trip to Orlando was organised, which subjected our members to harsh conditions while we were waiting for transport in the rain for more than 24 hours, and up until today we have not been given any explanation and proper apology in the manner we were treated going to Orlando,” read the letter.
Branch chairperson Philani Gazuzu Nduli said that as the branch they were not happy with Khanyile’s expulsion after he had apologised. He added that he was fired without being given an opportunity to appear before the party leadership to explain what happened.
“We were not provided with the accommodation and food and comrades were very angry and decided that we resign,” said Nduli.
Khanyile was expelled three weeks ago after addressing the Umkhonto weSizwe Party rally in Durban alongside former president Jacob Zuma. His apology did not deter PA president Gayton Mckenzie and deputy president Kenny Kunene from expelling him.
In a statement issued by the party two days later, it said it did not accept the apology. The party said it was not acceptable for any leader of the PA to appear at an event of a rival political party without consultation with other PA leaders.
It added that Khanyile’s appearance was used by PA’s detractors to suggest that the party was affiliated with MK in some way and that Khanyile was endorsing the MK because he was accompanied by other PA supporters wearing party regalia.
The party said it would announce a new premier candidate in due course, adding that the party’s youth alliance had a strong crop of young leaders from whom an inspiring leader would be chosen.
In a video that circulated on social media soon after his appearance, Khanyile is seen being introduced by Zuma, who said they would be campaigning with him this year. This was construed as if Khanyile had joined the MK.
In his explanation, coupled with an apology, he said because of his known long-standing relationship with Zuma he felt he should reconnect with him upon hearing that he was addressing the MK party gathering. Khanyile said he attended the event purely in his personal capacity, and not as a PA member.
Khanyile told the paper on Wednesday that he was still consulting and would make an announcement probably next week.
PA had not responded to a request for comment by the publication time.
An independent analyst, Thobani Zikalala, said the PA was harsh and would regret its decision. He said although the party’s decision was understandable, it should have been smarter, like the ANC, which has not taken any action against Zuma.
Khanyile is currently on trial for instigating violence during the 2021 civil unrest associated with Zuma’s arrest. He will return to court for a trial on January 22 and February 4 next year.
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