ANC committee to look into senior party members’ involvement in opposition parties
The committee will look into smaller opposition parties, such as ATM, being created with the help of ANC members to weaken the party’s base
The ANC has established an ad hoc committee that will investigate whether any of its members were involved in the formation of small political parties allegedly to weaken the base of the governing party.
The committee, led by former ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe and Frene Ginwala, was established by the national working committee (NWC), the party said on Wednesday. They will be assisted by advocate Fezeka Magano.
Allegations that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, along with former president Jacob Zuma, helped form the African Transformation Movement (ATM), are expected to be part of the investigation.
It is also likely to look into the the involvement of ANC members in establishing Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s African Content Movement and Black First Land First, which met with Zuma in Durban ahead of the May elections.
The investigation comes as the ANC continues to fight factional battles within the party. Last week it became clear that the pretence of unity had broken down as ANC leaders publicly battled it out over the mandate and ownership of the SA Reserve Bank.
The investigation into the establishment of smaller parties came after Sunday Times reported that general secretary of the SA Council of Messianic Churches in Christ, Buyisile Ngqulwana, submitted an affidavit in court claiming Magashule and Zuma were involved in ATM’s formation. This was part of a court application to have ATM’s registration as a political party declared null and void.
However, in a statement last week, the ATM said Ngqulwana had withdrawn his application lodged in the High Court in Johannesburg.
The ATM, which counts former government spokesperson and erstwhile ANC member Mzwanele Manyi among its officials, contested elections for the first time in May and managed to secure two seats in the National Assembly.
The matter of ANC members being involved in the formation of these political parties was raised at the party’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting at the end of May. The NEC then directed the NWC to set up the ad hoc committee. “It is our hope that the committee will complete its work within the next 60 days,” the committee said.
According to the terms of reference, the ad hoc committee will have the power to call witnesses and hear testimony. Evidence can be given in the form of documents, affidavits, video, sound recording or oral testimony.
The committee will decide whether the evidence of a witness is relevant and make a determination before they testify. Witnesses will be allowed to be cross-examined by those implicated.
The committee also has the power to make findings against any ANC member after evaluating all evidence and if prima facie evidence exists. It can recommend that disciplinary procedures against a member be instituted.
Witnesses were cautioned that evidence they give before the committee could be used in any subsequent disciplinary action instituted by the ANC against a member. The proceedings will be held in camera.