Durban - Members of the disputed eThekwini ANC regional task team have denied that they are ruled by factionalism and want to take control of the region when it holds its elective conference in a few months time.
The group maintains it wants to save the ANC from collapsing and defend the provincial leadership, which is currently in tatters.
Responding to media questions on Sunday, task team members Bheki Ntuli and Thabani Nyawose said it was untrue that they were forging alliances on the side simply because they want power for themselves.
“What unites all of us who gathered here is not because of the conference that is coming but the fact is that there are decisions that have been taken by the provincial executive committee (PEC) and they are supposed to take those decisions without any problem,” Ntuli said.
Nyawose also denied that the axing of Zandile Gumede as eThekwini mayor was influenced by the fact that she was a woman, adding rather it was due to the poor performance of the municipality under her watch.
The duo spoke in Durban, where over 2000 ANC members gathered to show solidarity with the provincial leadership after Gumede’s supporters allegedly disrupted a party meeting on Friday.
The meeting at Moses Mabhida Stadium was to be addressed by ANC KZN treasurer Nomusa Dube-Ncube, but the event turned violent.
Dube and party spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu had to be whisked out of the venue for their own safety.
Nyawose said decisions of the ANC were not taken to discredit any gender and said the impression that there was an agenda by the provincial leadership to undermine women was misplaced.
“We are disputing that. We don't agree with that and it's wrong. The ANC PEC has taken a decision to recall deployees of the ANC and among those deployees there are female comrades; not one female, they are more than one.
"Therefore, the decisions are not directed at them or as an attack on women. They are based on the thorough assessment done by the ANC on the performance of the municipality,” Nyawose said.
Ntuli commended the ANC Women’s League, which under Bathabile Dlamini met with the provincial leadership to hear its side of the story after Dlamini initially claimed women were being pushed out of power.
She said the league’s decision to call the meeting was a sign of maturity.
“Within the ANC, we have got women, the youth and all the other sectors you may think of,” Ntuli said.
Senior ANC leaders at the gathering included PEC member Sithembiso Mshengu alongside Fawzia Peer, Nelly Nyanisa and Barbara Fontein, who all form part of the outgoing eThekwini executive committee.
The deeply divided ANC Youth League of eThekwini was represented by Thinta Cibane and Thembelihle Makhanya and it appeared that both came as members of the task team, the faction Gumede has refused to take part in.
Makhanya said the decision to recall Gumede was the right one because there were problems in the running of eThekwini.