Agang SA battles factionalism, debt of millions
(This article was published in Weekend Argus, a weekly regional newspaper in the Western Cape province, South Africa, on 29 June 2014.)
Written by Yazeed Kamaldien
The battle for Agang SA’s leadership faced a showdown today, with one group supporting the party leader Mamphela Ramphele obtaining a court order to prevent another from ousting her.
The party’s Gauteng office was able to prevent a faction from meeting in Alexandra at 12pm today to hold a “vote of no confidence” against Ramphele.
Shamane Mashishi, national deputy secretary-general of Agang SA, said last night the Alexandra meeting is “not a legitimate gathering of the organisation”.
“We have tried to reason with these people not to have this gathering. They decided to go ahead with it anyway. We want the court to stop them,” he said.
“They are legitimate members of the organisation but if you are going to have a conference you need to follow processes. They have not followed these processes.”
He added: “If the meeting doesn’t go ahead, we want them to come to the table so that a solution can be found. They want to drag the name of the party president (Ramphela) through the mud.
“If they continue, we will take them before a disciplinary and sort it out internally.”
The party’s “national executive committee” called for a meeting at the East Bank Hall in Alexandra, Gauteng, at 12pm. The party’s chairman Mike Tshingshonga, who has publicly campaigned against Ramphele, called the meeting.
Its top priority was to ensure the voting of a “motion of no-confidence of the president”. It also aimed to “call for nominations for and voting on a new president and five members of the NEC (national executive committee)”.
Agang SA has been plagued with internal factionalism that emerged strongly after the May 7 election, when it gained 52,350 votes and two seats in Parliament.
Agang SA appointed Merle O’Brien, convenor of a task team that had to look into leadership, financial, structural, policy, communication and constitutional issues within Agang SA, issued the party with a report to the party’s national executive committee. This team was appointed on June 19.
“The organisation has debt of R12-million. A recommendation was that a finance team engages creditors on a payment plan,” said O’Brien.
“The national executive committee needs key positions filled to stabilise the party. It needs a secretary-general, treasurer and a policy convenor. The Parliamentary office has not been functioning and provincial structures are not working optimally.”
She added: “The party also had to update its constitution with the Independent Electoral Commission, amongst other legal matters that had not been taken care of.”