Lekgotla on the cards to help ailing councils
The ANC in the Free State has moved swiftly to close rank with party secretary general Ace Magashule and national chairman Gwede Mantashe in the face of what it called a media onslaught on the leadership of the movement.
The party, which held an ordinary scheduled provincial meeting at the Kaizer Sebothelo House in Bloemfontein, called on members to isolate those seeking to push the narrative of a Magashule Premiership in the Free State as having been characterised by looting and corruption.
Conveying the outcomes of the meeting, provincial secretary Paseka Nompondo said: “The provincial executive committee (PEC) observed that the ANC as a movement continues to bear the brunt of a sustained onslaught on its leadership, especially by the media. The recent coverage seeks to conclude and portray both the national chair Mantashe and secretary general Magashule in a negative fashion. ”
Nompondo’s remarks come after claims of a sexual triangle involving Mantashe and Magashule linked to the controversial murder of a Free State medical doctor, even though he was not indicted as one of the eight accused.
“The meeting noted the narrative that has been consistently punted regarding the Premiership of comrade Ace Magashule’s term as a looting/corruption spree with nothing tangible having been achieved,” he noted.
The PEC took stock of the good work done during Magashule’s tenure, citing he brought significant improvements in the lives of the people of the Free State, he pointed out.
The desperation to want to link ANC leaders to anything negative creates an impression of a political agenda by the media in casting aspersions with the hope of diminishing the public’s confidence in the ANC, the provincial secretary alleged.
“The meeting noted that the defence of the ANC leadership is a political task, to defend the gains of the revolution and a call on all progressive forces to tirelessly isolate issues, be vigilant and celebrate ANC achievements together with the people.”
The onslaught on ANC leaders, Nompondo said, is reinforced by ill-discipline that finds expression through peddling of malicious gossip and lies.
He reiterated the importance of unity and cohesion of the movement, adding there’s a need for all structures of the ANC and its membership to conduct themselves in a manner that solidifies the party’s unity, the tripartite alliance with the SA Communist Party (SACP) and Sanco (Sa National Civics Organisation) and the people of the Free State.
“The PEC observed that without unity, the ANC and the broad forces of change would be ineffective in discharging its responsibility to deliver economic emancipation and free the oppressed masses from poverty, unemployment and inequality,” said Nompondo.
Divisions and negative public perceptions arising from factional fights, together allegations of corruption and political battles, would be addressed on an ongoing basis to build unity and cohesion and the reputation of the movement.
Nompondo further indicated the PEC resolved to allocate enough time to attend to the state of municipalities in the province.
The meeting also noted with concern the grim picture of the state of municipal finances and unemployment trends in the province over the past 10 years.
“The most worrisome fact is that the Free State province has consistently had the highest unemployment rate according to the latest report issued by Stats SA. In light of this, the PEC resolved to convene a special meeting on the economic situation in the province,” he added.
The meeting will be similar to the Provincial Lekgotla on Municipalities through its Legislature and Governance Subcommittee held some months ago.
On regional elective conferences that are set to wrap up their business in January, Nompondo assured that these would be guided by a reviewed road map towards their sittings as a result of the introduction of the new electronic membership system.
The struggling municipalities of Nketoana and Setsoto have already appeared before the PEC to receive instructions on the need to preserve ANC unity among deployees and to urgently attend to service delivery challenges identified.