Samthanda Mhize, 1, watches a gathering of about 300 disgruntled ANC members who met at Durban's South Beach Ampitheatre to air their grievances about problems in the ANC. Picture: JACKIE CLAUSEN
Samthanda Mhize, 1, watches a gathering of about 300 disgruntled ANC members who met at Durban's South Beach Ampitheatre to air their grievances about problems in the ANC. Picture: JACKIE CLAUSEN

Disgruntled supporters of President Cyril Ramaphosa in KwaZulu-Natal have called for the disbandment of the provincial interim committee (PIC) and for the provincial elective conference to be postponed until after the national elections in 2019.

They have accused the interim structure, which replaced the provincial executive committee (PEC) that was suspended by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) in January, of being factional and not supporting Ramaphosa and supporting former president Jacob Zuma instead.

The PEC supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for ANC president during the party’s 54th national elective conference in Johannesburg in December but she lost to Ramaphosa who had sizeable support among ANC supporters in the province.

The party’s leadership in the province has been on rocky ground‚ with a court challenge by a group of "rebels" having successfully nullified the elective process that resulted in the installation of the PEC in 2016.

The group sought to nullify the legitimacy of ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma‚ provincial chair Sihle Zikalala, as well as 38 other ANC leaders following the controversial PEC in November 2015.

In January, following the court ruling‚ ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule formally suspended the KwaZulu-Natal executive and replaced it with an interim structure‚ convened by the province’s former economic development and tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu and co-ordinated by his predecessor and Zikalala.

Now, with the term of the PIC coming to an end next week‚ Ramaphosa’s supporters in the province have questioned whether the interim structure still has any authority to convene a regional or provincial conference.

Last week the ANC’s provincial elective conference was postponed indefinitely.

The conference‚ which was supposed to have been held between March and April‚ had become necessary when a Pietermaritzburg High Court judgment nullified the contested 2015 PEC after a challenge by the so-called ANC rebels.

Pro-Ramaphosa supporters gathered at the South Beach Amphitheatre in Durban on Monday to call for an intervention of the ANC’s national working committee (NWC) and PIC to resolve gatekeeping‚ manipulation of processes and factionalism within the organisation.

Ramaphosa T-shirts were distributed to a group of about 300 ANC supporters who attended the meeting.

Sthembiso Mshengu‚ a former ANC Youth League leader, who was prominent in the Ramaphosa campaign‚ said only the ANC NEC could make a decision on what will happen when the PIC’s term expires next week.

"That remains the area for the NEC to decide, given the fact that the PEC was suspended and PIC was installed and [is due to end] next week. It’s going to be a constitutional issue whether the PIC still has authority to convene a provincial or regional conference.

"But as things stand right now‚ it will be an injustice to convene a provincial or regional conference given the amount of gatekeeping that has been taking place in the ANC in eThekwini, in particular, but broadly throughout the province."

ANC ward 66 branch chair Thabani Nyawose‚ who addressed the crowd‚ announced that a meeting between the PIC‚ NWC and ANC scheduled to have taken place on Monday had been postponed.

"The plan was that today [Monday] the NWC will be visiting KwaZulu-Natal to assess the situation of the organisation from the branches to all structures‚ but we were informed the meeting had been postponed‚" he said.

Nyawose said one of the messages they want to communicate to the ANC leadership was that it belonged to all its members.

"There is a huge problem that we want to communicate to the leadership of the ANC that it must resolve immediately. Today we’re saying the ANC belongs to each member. The ANC does not belong to leaders. The ANC belongs to all of us. The ANC is a mass-based organisation but some leaders make it as if it’s for a select few and an organisation that works according to friendship."