The days of giving ill-disciplined ANC members enough rope to hang themselves are over as the party will now “walk the talk” and decisively deal with those who bring the governing party into disrepute.
This was a vow from Eastern Cape ANC provincial chair Oscar Mabuyane while addressing mourners during the funeral of former Inxuba Yethemba mayor and Chris Hani district councillor Nyameka Goniwe on Wednesday.
Goniwe, 69, the widow of Mathew, one of the Cradock Four killed by the apartheid regime in 1985, was laid to rest in Cradock. She died on August 29. A small number of family members and friends attended in person but the Chris Hani municipality had distributed links widely so that people could attend virtually.
Mabuyane — whose leadership of the ANC has been questioned ever since he beat Phumulo Masualle for the top post at an elective conference so violent it was dubbed the festival of chairs in 2017 — blasted ill-disciplined party members, saying the ANC did not get to 108 years by letting members do as they pleased.
The premier said Goniwe must have been worried about the “foreign behaviour” by some ANC members which was prevalent around elective conferences.
He laid into some ANC leaders, accusing them of thinking leadership positions were their birthright.
“Today we see many comrades in our movement who have questionable postures that are foreign to the ANC culture. They label themselves the most revolutionary cadres of our movement, but their actions reveal revolutionary bankruptcy of the highest order.
“Part of what we need to do as the ANC, a movement that was loved dearly by sisi Nyami, is to walk the talk on dealing with ill-discipline within our ranks,” he said.
The ANC has already started cracking down on party members who have pending criminal and disciplinary cases against them.
On Tuesday, Andile Lungisa was instructed to resign as a councillor in Nelson Mandela Bay by September 10, his membership suspended and was forbidden from attending ANC events or speaking on behalf of it because of his 2018 assault conviction.
The ANC membership of Dr WB Rubusana ANC Youth League regional task team member Ntembeko Dodo, who is accused of raping a sex worker, has also been suspended.
Other party members, including ANC Women’s League deputy secretary-general Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe and troubled Buffalo City Metro councillor Ntombizodwa Gamnca, are being investigated.
Mabuyane’s comments come amid deep party divisions between President Cyril Ramaphosa supporters and the Jacob Zuma faction that failed to get Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma elected as ANC president in 2017.
There have been calls for Ramaphosa to step down over a donation scandal linked to his party president election campaign, CR17.
In what could be seen as backing Ramaphosa, Mabuyane, who was active in the CR17 campaign, described some ANC members as having “elective conference hangovers”.
“The wisdom of ANC branches must not be undermined when people lose conferences. No single ANC member or leader has a monopoly over the collective thinking of ANC branches and members,” Mabuyane said.
He called for corruption “perceived or real” to be rooted out. He described Cradock as an area with a huge economic potential, which his administration was hoping to realise.
Turning to Goniwe, Mabuyane said the late councillor “left an indelible mark” in Inxuba Yethemba and the district authority.
“She carried herself with dignity and did not forsake the values of the ANC in discharging her duties. She [was] the calibre of an ANC cadre our society yearns for because the ANC is the leader of society.
“Our society looks up to the ANC and its cadres to uphold high moral and ethical standards and to work solely for the upliftment of our people, not for personal gain.”
Goniwe never expected to receive special treatment by virtue of her surname. Because of her dedication to serving the ANC, the party never hesitated to deploy her, Mabuyane said.
“She was a humble, respectful and loyal cadre who took instructions and implemented them with no qualms.”
Goniwe is survived by her two children, Nobuzwe and Nyaniso.
By Mkhululi Ndamase – DispatchLIVE