Duarte threatens to remove the North West’s Chauke from interim provincial committee for misrepresenting local government candidate list guidelines

ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte has threatened to remove North West interim provincial committee coordinator Hlomani Chauke from his position in the structure claiming that he has misrepresented the candidate list guidelines. 

In a letter seen by the Mail & Guardian, dated 13 September, Duarte writes that the party electoral committee chairperson, former president Kgalema Montlanthe, laid a complaint against Chauke regarding a letter he sent to the provincial structures. 

Duarte wrote that the complaint is that the letter sent to ANC structures in the North West regarding the electoral committee resolutions was a misrepresentation of the meeting between the electoral committee, the interim provincial committee and the provincial list committee (PLC) on 8 September.  

“In view of this, I am writing to officially warn you that if there are any more mishaps, misrepresentation or failure to follow guidelines, we will have no choice but to suspend you as interim provincial committee coordinator of the North West,” Duarte wrote. 

In another heated letter to the national executive committee (NEC) convenor in the North West, Obed Bapela, Duarte writes that Chauke has displayed “blatant disregard” for the decision of the electoral committee, adding that the top six have taken a “dim view” of Chauke’s actions. 

Duarte then requests that the NEC members in the province meet to conduct a thorough assessment of the suitability of Chauke to continue in his role as the interim provincial committee coordinator and make recommendations. 

The M&G previously reported how Chauke was at loggerheads with the provincial list committee after they ordered a rerun of the council candidate selection. 

Chauke refused this order, citing time constraints because the party had ordered that all party candidates lists be submitted to ANC headquarters at Luthuli House by 11 September. 

Chauke has been accused by North West branches of having manipulated the candidate selection process to install his allies in council positions. 

The provincial list committee has accused Chauke and the interim provincial committee of meddling with the process. Chauke, in an interview with the M&G on Monday, said the provincial list committee had been pandering to branches and regions who wanted to manipulate the list process for their own gain. 

The M&G reported on Tuesday that Duarte is taking extra caution to ensure the ANC registers the correct candidates with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC). 

In a communique sent to provincial secretaries and provincial coordinators, Duarte ordered that each of them go to the party headquarters at Luthuli House to “sit with the registration teams and go over their lists”.

As of Wednesday, 15 September, Duarte states that all secretaries and coordinators in each province or their designated representative must go over each list from 8.30am until 6pm as agreed in the secretariat forum. 

The secretaries invited to Luthuli House on Wednesday are from the Free State, North West and Mpumalanga. 

Secretaries from Gauteng, Limpopo and Western Cape will be at the headquarters on Thursday and on Friday, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Cape secretaries will take their turn at inspecting their council candidates. 

The move comes after the ANC bungled its registration with the IEC when it failed to submit candidates in 93 municipalities for the local government elections that were initially scheduled for 27 October. 

On Monday, 11 September, the IEC announced that it would reopen the registration of candidates. This comes after the constitutional court rejected the commission’s application to postpone the local government elections to February on the grounds that the Covid-19 pandemic would render it not free and fair. 

The local government elections will be on 1 November and the IEC may now hold voter registration drives, which will happen on 18 and 19 September. Party candidates may still be registered on 20 and 21 September.

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