The ANC in the Free State believes disgruntled members are self-serving and have an issue with the party because they want positions and tenders.
ANC Free State spokesperson Thabo Meeko on Saturday said: “People are pursuing personal interests because, at all costs, they want to be employed, they want to be deployed, they want to be given tenders. We can never allow or agree that the ANC must be divided because individuals are not happy about the democratic outcomes of the ANC process.”
In the statement, the disgruntled members say they have written a letter to the party’s national executive committee (NEC), outlining their issues with the provincial executive council (PEC), and have centered all their allegations around ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
“We are of the view that our complaints are being watered down by the secretary-general himself, who benefits from a divided Free State province, which is led by those he has personally anointed,” the letter said.
They have also requested the withdrawal of Magashule, who, according to them, is “biased and cannot be a player and a referee”.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe could not confirm receipt of the letter, which is dated July 6, however, the group’s spokesperson, Kgomotso Tsitsi, told City Press the letter was emailed to the ANC top six and the NEC.
Meeko has labelled the group “attention seekers because their intention is to get the PEC disbanded and that will not happen”.
The governing party’s Free State structures have been cracked by factional fighting and court battles.
These include the 2012 Constitutional Court matter and a challenge that arose in 2017.
In both cases, the courts decided that the PECs be dissolved because the party’s constitution was breached when they were formed.
Meeko expressed his disdain over the group’s decision to contact the media to complain about the party instead of solving the matter internally.
“It cannot be accepted and tolerated. With time, we will isolate those who we believe are ill disciplined and isolate them from the structures of the ANC,” he said.
“Why are these issues not exhausted in the structures of the ANC? On whose interest are these people taking this to the media?”
Tsitsi explained that they had to resort to speaking to the media because their cries had fallen on deaf ears.
“By using you as the media, it’s really a last effort to force the NEC to come to the province and seek a resolution to the problems we have been experiencing,” he said.
According to the letter, there was a meeting held last year with two senior ANC officials and, through the discussion and subsequent meetings, a framework was agreed upon on to unite the province.
However, the officials did not attend any further meetings and stopped taking their calls.
The group sent a delegation in September to make representations to a special NEC held in Irene.
A meeting was held with them with different senior officials.
“They invariably made promises to facilitate a meeting with the other side, but, to date, nothing came from this promise. Our parting shot to them was that we would proceed to the office of the president the following Monday, which we did,” read the letter.
They then had a meeting with Chris Naidoo and Justice Pitso, who listened to their representations and promised to give a “comprehensive response”.
However, this did not materialise.
Tsitsi said their attempts to get hold of Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela had been futile.
“A number of people have been calling her. In our group, we were told that she was prepared to meet with us – but that was before she got nominated as premier. Thereafter, everything changed,” he said.
However, Meeko dismissed these claims.