Insiders said a decision was taken by the party to force leaders implicated in murder to quit or face disciplinary action.
The decision to rein in errant members comes after the arrest of Harry Gwala district municipal mayor Mluleki Ndobe, which threatened to derail the party’s campaigning for May 8 elections.
Ndobe is the KZN chairperson of the South African Local Government Association, former deputy provincial secretary, and was number three on the ANC’s list for the provincial legislature.
Another ANC mayor from Newcastle, Ntuthuko Mahlaba, was arrested on Friday for the murder of a colleague.
But ANC KZN spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu yesterday denied a decision had been taken to force mayors charged with murder to resign.
“We don’t have a decision like that. On Tuesday, when we went to court, I raised the point that the leadership must engage once an office-bearer has been charged. There is going to be a discussion. The leadership is working on that,” said Simelane-Zulu.
A provincial executive committee (PEC) member said the decision would be guided by internal rules and might involve the integrity commission when a member is disciplined to explain the need for a resignation.
“This move is, of course, controversial when you consider that some will argue they are only suspects and have not yet been convicted. Our argument is that their association with the party, while they face serious charges, is bad and we must act as soon as possible to show the public we frown on wayward behaviour,” said the PEC member.
Mahlaba, also the eMalahleni regional chairperson, is accused of having a hand in the killing of Wandile Ngobeni, an ANC youth league member who was slain in 2016.
Three more mayors are expected to be arrested for their role in political killings. One of them is on a Hawks’ watch-list and is implicated in a report on corruption that led to political killings but ended up gathering dust in the premier’s office.
Another PEC member said an additional matter raised at a provincial working committee meeting was that Police Minister Bheki Cele had not alerted the PEC before making high-profile arrests in the province.
Cele is alleged to have responded by saying he had no obligation to alert the PEC because that would amount to interference and he was also only informed by investigators, who did not give names, to avoid warning the suspects they were pursuing.
“Cele also told them that alerting the PEC in advance would mean that he would have to do the same for the IFP because arrests were imminent in Zululand involving IFP members,” said the source.
Sunday Tribune / Political Bureau