Cape Town - Barely two weeks after the elections, the ANC in the Western Cape has been beset with challenges.
The past week saw a surprise decision by former Western Cape premier, Ebrahim Rasool, who declined a post in the provincial legislature. The party is at loggerheads with one of its provincial executive committee (PEC) members and the person who has been “volunteering” as its spokesperson.
On Wednesday, the day Rasool was meant to be sworn in, he said he would not be taking up a position as a member of the Western Cape Legislature.
Rasool confirmed he tendered his resignation to the incoming speaker of the provincial legislature.
“When I was asked to lead the ANC’s elections campaign in the Western Cape, it was never with the intention to return to the Western Cape Provincial Legislature but simply to help stem the ANC’s slide in the province and rebuild trust and excitement behind the renewal project headed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in the Western Cape. Anything more would be a bonus,” said Rasool.
But a well-placed source in the provincial structure, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Weekend Argus Rasool was not offered the post of leader of the opposition as he had hoped and that’s why he declined to take up any position in the legislature.
Attempts by Weekend Argus to get comment from Rasool have gone unanswered.
Meanwhile, there seems to be dissent within the ranks of the ANC in the run-up to its conference which may take place at the end of September.
While that is still some time away, there is disagreement about who is its provincial spokesperson.
“The only reason I can think of is that they want to tarnish my name and my business. Also, we are in a time of conference.”
These were the reasons ANC Western Cape PEC member, Lionel Adendorf gave for his sudden removal as ANC provincial spokesperson.
He, however, maintains that he is still the official spokesperson until a “properly convened PEC meeting decides otherwise”.
The party has been in a flurry this week after an email was sent out last week announcing that Adendorf was no longer the ANC’s provincial spokesperson, and that all communication would come from ANC provincial secretary, Faiez Jacobs through his media liaison officer, Dennis Cruywagen.
Adendorf this week used tens of thousands of his own rands, and filed an urgent court application to set aside his “removal” based on the principle that it was not done according to due process. The judge ruled that the matter was not urgent and according to Adendorf, he has instructed his lawyers to place the matter on the court’s normal roll.
Adendorf said he was present at the PEC meeting last Friday and his removal as spokesperson was not discussed.
“The chairperson, Khaya Magaxa closed the meeting at 8.45pm and I was not discussed.
“Unless they had another meeting elsewhere that I am not aware of,” said Adendorf.
Magaxa is cited as the second respondent on Adendorf’s court application and in it he confirms that he supports the reasons supplied by Adendorf.
When Weekend Argus contacted him for comment he said: “I don’t want to discuss those issues now. It must be resolved internally.”
The ANC in the province said it welcomed the decision by the high court to “strike from the roll a matter brought against it by a member of the PEC, Lionel Adendorf”.
Reacting to the ruling, Jacobs said: “We welcome the court’s decision.
“This vindicates our position as the PEC. It is regrettable that the applicant chose to prefer to go to court, instead of exhausting internal organisational procedures.”
Cruywagen said: “It was resolved at a PEC meeting last Friday night that all official communications would come from the provincial secretary, Faiez Jacobs. Comrade Adendorf was relieved of his political oversight role over communications.”
When asked about Adendorf’s plan to further pursue legal action, Cruywagen replied: “We are not prepared to enter into a debate with comrade Lionel.”
According to Adendorf, he left the meeting at 8.45pm when Magaxa closed the meeting but Cruywagen fired back and said: “Comrade Lionel was among a group that walked out of the meeting.
“The decision was taken after this walkout.”
Adendorf told Weekend Argus he did not mind being removed from his “volunteer” post as ANC provincial spokesperson, but he wanted it to be sanctioned by a “properly convened meeting of the PEC”.
Adendorf also mentioned that while he would remain a member of the party he would not be available to serve on the PEC, despite branches having approached him to be available.
“I have a business to focus on.
“This was never a job I wanted.
“I do not get paid for it so how can I be fired from something I don’t get paid for,” said Adendorf.