Msibi and Gumede to stay put in ANC posts as bid to unseat them fails
Party’s step-aside guidelines were amended only after election of criminally charged pair
ANC leaders elected to party posts despite facing charges will stay in their positions for now, say senior party leaders who attended Monday’s national working committee (NWC) meeting.
The ANC NWC arguments were about whether eThekwini regional chair Zandile Gumede and Mpumalanga provincial treasurer Mandla Msibi will keep their jobs after the party’s amendment of its step-aside rules.
This follows a national executive committee decision that criminally charged leaders who have been made to step aside from their positions by the ANC will be barred from contesting leadership positions in the party.
But the amended guidelines were instituted only after the re-election of corruption-accused Gumede and murder-accused Msibi, leading to some in the party calling for a retrospective approach.
The Sunday Times reported last week that ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s backers would argue for Gumede to resign.
Insiders said the proposal was “rejected” overwhelmingly.
“There was a push to have Zandile in eThekwini resign from her position. They say her election as chair is harming the image of the ANC,” said one insider.
The “retrospective approach” offensive was advocated by three senior ANC leaders aligned with Ramaphosa.
However, it was allegedly “defeated”, according to sources who attended the heated meeting.
Insiders said backers of Gumede and Msibi called for consistency in applying the rules “because those conferences took place and [now] they are gone”.
This is while the secretary-general’s office is said to have explained that Gumede and Msibi had followed the step-aside rule in any event so there was no need for them to resign.
It is not clear if there was any finality to the matter. But another ANC NWC member who was present at the meeting said it should now be up to the branches of the ANC, via the national policy and elective conferences, to refine the thorny step-aside question.
“As I said last week, there is no rush. The national conference is around the corner to deliberate on this. Comrade Zandile and comrade Msibi stepped aside, so this thing of harming the organisation’s brand is just a way for some among us to deal with political adversaries,” said another NWC member.
“This thing should not even have been raised at NWC. It was a waste of time because they [Gumede and Msibi] had already stepped aside.”
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