Johannesburg - The ANC in Gauteng has vowed to expel members and leaders found to be manipulating its internal processes by buying votes in the run-up to its provincial conference next month.
On Monday, the party’s provincial leadership outlined its readiness to hold the crucial conference, which will be preceded by five regional conferences.
ANC elective conferences have been marred by allegations of gate-keeping and vote-buying across the provinces, with several regions and provincial structures being dissolved after their legitimacy was successfully challenged in court by disgruntled members, including the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal structures.
Gauteng acting provincial chairperson Premier David Makhura said while the party would welcome robust debates on preferred candidates to lead the country’s economic hub, manipulation and disruption would be severely punished.
“Over time, we have been successful to get ANC members to understand discipline. We are a well-developed core of cadres and we invest in political education. Those who do not adhere to discipline they know They will be out of the ANC,” Makhura said.
“Of course we want dynamic interaction and debates, and there'll be differences among our members, because differences and contradictions produce a much better organisation. They must debate and contest for positions. The contestations are what sharpen our abilities to choose leaders that are tried and tested.
"That is what we need, not weapons, violence or money,” said Makhura, the Gauteng ANC's former deputy chairperson, who assumed the chairperson role after Paul Mashatile was elected ANC treasurer-general. Makhura is expected to be officially installed as the party’s leader in the province.
Provincial executive member and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has been tipped to replace Makhura as deputy chairperson, while Tshwane regional chairperson Kgosientso Ramokgopa’s name has also been mentioned ahead of the regional conferences.
Following the ANC’s 54th national conference in December, the provincial body suspended five of its branch activists and expelled one for their involvement in disrupting branch meetings.
Provincial secretary Hope Papo said the provincial leadership would not allow the disruptive behaviour that was seen in other provinces in Gauteng, adding that anyone fingered should be prepared to be sent packing.
“Our provincial disciplinary committee is ready to act, and we will not negotiate with disruptors and people trying to subvert internal processes. That has been made clear by the decision of the PEC (provincial executive committee).
"We referred six cases to the disciplinary committee after Nasrec and we'll do the same, but we will not wait for the conferences this time," Papo said.
He said 471 of the 529 branches would be able to attend the conferences after passing the membership audit conducted by Luthuli House and concluded last month.
“The PEC's conclusion is that all five regions are ready politically and organisationally to convene successful regional conferences."