Johannesburg – The upheavals within the ANC over Andile Lungisa’s eligibility to stand as the chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Bay region escalated on Saturday, with Ekurhuleni party chair and mayor Mzwandile Masina entering the fray.
Masina joined President Jacob Zuma in endorsing Lungisa yesterday when he wrote to the ANC questioning the decision to reverse the former ANC Youth League deputy president’s election as the regional chairperson. Zuma had last weekend flown to Nelson Mandela Bay to personally endorse Lungisa.
Zuma’s decision appeared to contradict ANC policy and is at odds with secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who had earlier written to Lungisa instructing him not to contest the position.
Lungisa was subsequently removed from his position after a meeting by the ANC’s top six officials, the Mail & Guardian reported.
On Saturday Masina, who is seen as a close ally of Zuma, expressed his unhappiness with the ANC national executive committee (NEC)’s decision to remove Lungisa.
“This is undemocratic indeed and failure to appreciate that we elected leaders among (the) tried and tested within the structures of the organisation. The implication is that very bad for the organisation (sic),” Masina said on Saturday, in a letter that was shared on social media.
To make his point, Masina cited what he thought were several instances showing that Lungisa was eligible to contest at the lower structures.
“In 2010, Cde Nomvula Mokonyane, the NEC member since 2007, contested as chair of Gauteng and lost to Cde Paul Mashatile.
“In 2014, Cde @BoyceManeli, the then deputy secretary of Gauteng ANC who was also the acting secretary of the province, contested as regional chair of West Rand and won.”
Masina had started his address to fellow comrades by stating in his letter: “I hope the few letters I’ve seen are not from the ANC, including the so-called precedence of people who could not contest due to clause 17.4 of the constitution.
“Those who might not be familiar with the ANC constitution clause 17.4, it reads as follows: ‘17.4 A member elected to the PEC shall resign from any position held in a lower structure in the ANC’.”
Masina then makes his stance on the matter: “My understanding is that nothing, according to this clause, stops Cde Andile Lungisa to contest as the PEC (member), a position from lower structure as long as he understand to relinquish the other position."
He then raised his agitation with Lungisa’s political prospects.
“Worse with his case, the PEC of EC is due for the provincial conference in two months time or so."
He stated the decision to remove Lungisa had left him confused and fearful about the future of the ANC.
“I remain confused and not certain how we can survive.”
On Saturday night, Mantashe refused to comment, referring queries to Masina. The latter denied questioning the ANC.
He accused The Sunday Independent of sensationalism.
“I was commenting on a public matter like many others, expressing my understanding of the constitutional clause (sic).
“If you are aware of a decision to remove Andile, the right person who will give you official comment from ANC is the secretary-general (Mantashe).”