Andile Lungisa File picture: Dumisani Sibeko/Independent Media
Port Elizabeth - Andile Lungisa, chairman of the ANC Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) metro regional executive committee, has decided to step down from the position just less than a month of having been elected at the party's regional elective conference. 

The REC in Nelson Mandela Bay announced its position at a press conference on Monday afternoon, following weeks of simmering pressure from national and provincial bosses who were adamant that Lungisa needed to resign. Deputy Regional Chairperson, Phumzile Tshuni will step in to fill the spot as the REC's Acting Regional Chairperson in the interim. 

"After engagements with all structures of the ANC (REC, PEC and NEC) our democratically elected Regional Chairperson Andile Lungisa has decided to step down," Tshuni said The African National Congress in the Nelson Mandela Bay region said that they would support Lungisa to run for the position of Provincial Secretary at the party's Provincial Conference which will be held in July later this year. 

 "We will allow the organisational structures to endorse the decision but we are [not] dictating to them but guiding them," said Tshuni. Meanwhile, Lungisa said that his decision to step down was based on "respect" for upper structures within the ANC. 

"We have put it very clear, that we are members of the organisation and we respect all the structures of the organisation. How you feel about the organisation as an individual you must be able to die in order for the organisation to come strong that is our principle," said Lungisa. 

In a letter sent to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe last week, it emerged that Lungisa was only prepared to resign if that order came from the National Executive Committee (NEC). "If we are elected from this part of the land we must not be a coward, we cannot produce cowards as Nelson Mandela Bay metro. Any issue a political issue including the constitution of the organisation we've got a responsibility of discussing those issues without fear and favour that's why we discussed openly at the conference and defended the outcomes. When the NEC has met and expressed a view on this matter, we must be able to support the outcome and respect that decision," Lungisa said. 

Mantashe had earlier sent a letter to provincial structures countrywide and reminded them about the party’s constitution, which he said barred members of the provincial executive committee (PEC) from serving on a lower structure. Lungisa is a member of the party’s PEC in the Eastern Cape and, therefore, was not allowed to contest for the position of regional chairman, a lower structure, according to Mantashe. 

However, Lungisa and his supporters continue to maintain their stance and the interpretation of that particular rule. Lungisa said that the way he had interpreted the ANC's constitution on the rule around him contesting an upper structure position was still the "correct interpretation". 

"We cannot isolate interpretations from political decisions..there has been a decision taken by an upper structure and we must respect that decision. As we go the provincial conference in July and policy conference in June as we go to the national conference in December, as this region we will come with a clear constitutional amendment on 17.4 which is allowed," he said.  

African News Agency