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Racism causing a rift in the Western Cape ANC

The word racism Picture Credit: Thinkstock
The word racism Picture Credit: Thinkstock

Race has emerged as one of the key factors fuelling divisions within the opposition ANC in the Western Cape.

The party is again battling serious rifts as it gears up for its national conference to elect President Jacob Zuma’s successor.

In June tensions culminated with the disbanding of the Dullah Omar region‚ the ANC’s biggest region which encompasses the Cape Metro. The move has since been reversed by the party’s national executive committee.

 But insiders‚ who spoke on condition of anonymity‚ said one of the hot issues that led to the disbandment was the sidelining of branches in the mainly coloured areas. Regional leaders feared that these would not support their preferred candidate‚ Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“The problem that the Dullah Omar guys have with the coloured branches is that they [don’t want] Nkosazana as the successor of JZ in December. That has been the reason‚” said a PEC member.

He said the sidelined coloured branches historically had not been in favour of Zuma.

 Another PEC member agreed. He said this is what led to the poor election results in the historically coloured areas of the Cape Flats.

 A member of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature pointed to the makeup of ANC councillors in the City of Cape Town where coloured leaders were in the minority.

“[They] literally don’t bother to get branches going in the coloured areas and maybe there are two reasons for that. The one is that you assume that those branches will not support your faction‚ so you don’t bother.

“Secondly there is not a consciousness that we actually have to have a presence in Manenberg or in Hanover Park‚” said the member.

Another PEC member said the party lacked programmes on issues affecting coloured communities in the Cape Metro.

“They want to control membership ...in the coloured communities they [Dullah Omar leadership] will only choose their friends‚ people who don’t have support in those communities‚” said the member.

Dullah Omar regional secretary‚ JJ Tyhalisisu‚ declined to comment on the matter‚ saying the region will only speak after it has met following the reversal of its disbandment.

ANC Youth League provincial chair Muhammad Khalid Sayed‚ who is a supporter of Dlamini-Zuma‚ disputed that branches had been sidelined.

 “We are not really coming across that‚ that much. We have heard it being raised across the country ...it depends who you listen to‚” he said.

Sayed said the party should take issues like crime‚ gentrification and gangsterism in those communities and establish branches in order to get support.

 Acting chairman Khaya Magaxa disputed that coloured representation was one of the main reasons they disbanded the Dullah Omar region. He claims the allegations are lies spread by ‘’desperate people’’.

 “The ANC has all types of problems...we are a non-racial organisation and it’s very difficult in the ANC to marginalise a structure in relation to that issue of colour‚” said Magaxa.


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