Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nelson Mandela Bay heavyweight Xego to quit ANC

Former Nelson Mandela Bay regional chairman and Robben Island prisoner Mike Xego will be among those resigning from the ANC tomorrow when several members quit at a press conference at 5pm. He will be joined by former regional secretary Mtiwabo Ndube.

However, it is not those quitting that present the problem but those who are remaining until it is strategically the right moment to leave.

While he has denied that he is planning to defect to the new party Social Development MEC in the Eastern Cape Sam Kwelita will leave at some stage, while there is a question mark over the head of Housing and Safety and Liaison MEC Thobile Mhlahlo who has also denied any intention of quitting.

The provincial launch of the planned national convention will take place in Port Elizabeth this weekend and the organisers are hoping that in addition to former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa that Western Cape firebrand cleric Alan Boesak will also speak.

Boesak has stated that he does not want a return to politics but may be persuaded to do so and could be a powerful force for the new party in the Western Cape.

With the name of the new party scheduled to be announced at the national convention on November 2 in Bloemfontein, one month after it has been registered resignations from the Nelson Mandela Bay council are likely to force by-elections in what will be a test of electoral strength in the metro, ahead of next year’s national election.

Legislators meet to consider Pillay Commission report

The ad hoc committee on the Pillay Commission report that has been moribund for some two months will meet in the Bhisho Legislature.

The DA in the Legislature introduced a motion in the Legislature in Graaff Reinet earlier this month that was supported by all parties calling for the committee to meet and finish its work and that process will now start on Friday.

The task of the committee is to:

  • Consider the process of receiving the report by the Legislature – it was only submitted to the Speaker after a motion demanding this had been passed
  • Consider the report against the background that the Premier and Executive must be accountable to the Legislature and must therefore consider the report with due regard to the funds that the Legislature has voted to fund the commission
  • Consider the report, the findings and the recommendations thereof, the appropriateness thereof for implementation by the Executive and investigate the steps taken by the Executive to implement the recommendations of the commission and
  • Consider the terms of reference of the commission and to what extent they have been complied with.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dolphin capture: Has Nelson Mandela Bay flipped?

The compiler of a report submitted to the Nelson Mandela Bay council on the capture of local dolphins had very clearly been smoking something.

The part of the report dealing with the capture of the animals was headed “Recruitment of Dolphins from Local Waters”.

One presumes if that is the approach that is going to be adopted the process will need to follow the recruitment policies endorsed by the municipality and 50 per cent of the new animals will have to be female and two per cent disabled.

Those who are responsible for persuading the dolphins that a life in captivity is just what they need had therefore better be armed with the Employment Equity Act and targets set by the Metro!

Blobby Stevenson: Forever a lunch party supporter

At the lunchtime meeting called earlier this week by the ANC breakaway group it was possible to spot one or two “strangers” – members of the party who are strong backers of Jacob Zuma.

Strangest presence of the lot, however, was DA Bhisho MPL Bobby Stevenson.

Now any mention of a national convention or splits in the ANC excites the DA in a way that is akin to an invitation to dinner with Madiba. And the current official opposition – a position it might well lose if the “Terror” and his team perform as well at the polls as some are suggesting – are obviously eyeing the showdown between the ANC and those bent on forming a new party with relish.

(There could be some perks going out the window if that happens and a reduction in the speaking time allocated to the party!)

Any bets on how many DA supporters will join the new party that will be staunchly anti-communists? The phrase “rooi gevaar” has a particular effect on white voters. ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe thinks the DA will be a major loser.

Luke says: Good for you Bobby – the new party needs some heavyweights!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who in Nelson Mandela Bay is linked to ANC breakway?

In the early 1980s every public meeting addressed by the fledgling Conservative Party was eagerly scrutinised to see which members of the National Party had and were now planning to defect.

Political voyeurism is very much back in vogue with every meeting that is addressed by former ANC national chairman Mosiuoa Lekota being subjected to the same scrutiny to see who will attend and who might therefore be considering joining the new party.

One of those is Eastern Cape Social Development MEC Sam Kwelita who hails from the Amathole region lead by former deputy-minister of Defence Mluleki George who is part of plans to form a new party. The region is heavily pro-Thabo Mbeki and MPLs at last week’s session of the Legislature in Graaff-Reinet said the Kwelita wanted to engage on whether to remain within the ANC or not.

He has denied that he intends leaving the ANC but insiders expected him to do so.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, council speaker Charmaine Williams has also been linked with the formation of a new party and a council source said that there were moves afoot by the pro-Jacob Zuma faction in the metro to have her removed. That in turn could well be linked to another bid to oust Mayor Nondumiso Maphazi and an attack on municipal manager Graham Richards with the goal of having him suspended.

Full report on Lekota’s visit to Nelson Mandela Bay in The Herald today.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ANC split: No laughing matter according to Nkwinti

Eastern Cape Agriculture MEC Gugile Nkwinti responded to the barrage of jokes about the pending “divorce” in the ANC after former national chairman Mosiuoa Lekota stated this morning that it appeared there would be a “parting of the ways”.

The United Democratic Movement invited any ANC members who wished to do so to join them while the DA suggested that the real reason for problems at an old age home in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas lay in divisions within the ANC.

Replying to a debate in the Legislature later, Nkwinti said: “Those who have read the Sunday Times will have read what the President of the Republic Kgalema Motlanthe had to say ... in the ANC there is always a tomorrow”. (Although subsequent research suggests this quote appears in a story in the Mail & Guardian rather than the Sunday Times)

To which Nkwinti added somewhat pointedly: “There are not many political organisations in the country that can say that of themselves."

Pillay Commission: MPLs demand final report

The Bhisho Legislature has instructed the ad hoc committee into the Pillay Commission report to “reconvene as a matter of urgency” to finalise its report and submit it to the Legislature.

The Legislature, meeting in Graaff-Reinet, unanimously adopted a motion introduced by DA leader Athol Trollip that all called for “specific timelines to be established with regard to this report” so that it can be debated before the end of this year.

Introducing the motion, Trollip noted that the Legislature had voted R10 million for the commission headed by Judge Ronnie Pillay and that it was only after MPLs instructed the former premier Nosimo Balindlela to do so that released the report.

Initially the report of the ad hoc committee was to have been presented in July.

LUKE says: Good one Athol - this is not an issue that should simply be allowed to die. A number of serious allegations were made against senior politicians that were untested and that was quite wrong.