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ANC provincial leaders deny 'Premier League' claims

ANC Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte, says there’s no such thing as a “premier league” in the ANC.

The ANC's NGC broken down. Picture: Screengrab

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) chairperson in the North West, Supra Mahumaphelo, says he is been accused of being part of the so-called "premier league," because of what he says are antagonistic forces who failed to hijack the ANC Youth League and ANC Women's League conferences.

The last few weeks have seen speculation that the premiers of the North West, Mpumalanga and the Free State have been working together to influence the outcome of conferences.

Mahumapelo says these antagonistic forces tried to infiltrate the preparations for the leagues conferences but failed.

But he did not name the people behind the so-called conspiracy.

"When they didn't make it in terms of using the youth league and the women's league to advance their antagonistic and disruptive political agenda, when we defend the ANC as provinces, they then coin this so called "premier league" and they're not going to succeed."

He says the provincial structures of the ruling party have a responsibility to intervene when such threats emerge.

"We can't back off as provincial leadership of the ANC from implementing what's in the constitution of the ANC because if we don't help the leagues, that's dereliction of political responsibility and those leagues will go to the dogs."

However, ANC Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte, says there's no such thing as a "premier league" in the ANC.

"There's no premier league in the ANC. There's no such recognized grouping and the NEC discussed it very thoroughly. And the people, who have concerns, raise their concerns about one or two things but there's no premier league in the ANC and let's hope that there will only be one premier league."

Duarte said people need to be careful about claims they make regarding the party.

"Honestly, to advance mythology is a dangerous thing, because we've got to prove it. You've got to be abler to say this is a real thing.

She also said the NGC is going well because there're no disputes between leaders.

ANC MEMBERSHIP STILL HIGH

Duarte said the total number of people who belong to the party has actually increased in the last two and a half years.

On Friday, president Zuma said the number of ANC members had declined dramatically and claimed this was because of factionalism and gate-keeping at party branches.

Duarte said the party still has over one million members.

"The total number of members in our database it's 1.3 million, of which we've issued 1.2 million cards to everybody. That means, our membership has in fact, grown since Mangaung."

She said this discrepancy occurred because of the way they manage members before certain events. Duarte also said the debate around the ANC's membership figures has been quite hysterical.

Meanwhile, the ANC's head of campaigning, Nomvula Mokonyane, said retaining control of Gauteng during next year's local government elections depends on the cooperation of senior leaders in the province.

She spoke to Eyewitness News on the sidelines of the council in Midrand on Saturday.

Mokonyane said the ANC is fully aware of what is needed to retain control of Gauteng in next year's elections.

"We must move away from a one-size fits all campaigning, we must have locally-based campaign methods."

She said she's ready to end factionalism in the province.

"We must stop our own fights. We need our diverse strengths. You need Numvula and Paul Mashatile to come together and I want to personify this matter, if anything, people can't say the problems of Gauteng have to do with Nomvula and Paul, because we're not enemies."

Mokonyane also echoed sentiments expressed by Zuma: "If people differ, in terms of an approach, and their differences are not ideological, there is not thing that must deprive the ANC of the double strength that those individuals can bring."

[WATCH]: ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe addresses the drop in the ruling party's membership numbers.

ZUMA RULES OUT THIRD TERM

ANC president, Jacob Zuma, said he would never take part in elections for a third term as party leader, even if ANC branches begged him to.

The president told the Mail & Guardian at the National General Council (NGC) that he would not stand for re-election at the next ANC conference in 2017.

Zuma's remarks follow reports that the North West, Mpumalanga and Free State ANC structures want him to continue his term until 2017 and possibly contest for another.

Shortly before making his comments on third term as ANC president, Zuma said the party is not yet concerned with succession.

"Now it's not an issue, even if you wanted to make it an issue maybe I can feel I want to stand and then people say how can you stand, it could be a debate. It's just really to help people talking; it's not a matter tight now."

The North West ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo said if that is Zuma's decision, ANC members must respect it.

"On whether you can elect the president for the third, fourth, fifth or tenth term depends on the incumbent, like now the president has said he will never avail himself, we agree with him."

Furthermore, the party has moved to clarify Zuma's comments that he would never take part in elections for a third term as party leader.

ANC spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, said the report was mischievous and that no issues of leadership and succession should be dealt with at the NGC.

Zuma said repeated discussions on the same issues at ANC conferences do not equate a failure of the party's policies.

He said an issue like the alleviation of unemployment is still as high on this year's NGC agenda, as it was in previous meetings.

FAKE COP ARRESTED

Authorities have arrested a man, for allegedly impersonating a police officer, at the African National Congress's National General Council in Midrand.

The 37-year-old was arrested while trying to gain entry into the venue without accreditation on Saturday.

He's been charged with the impersonation of an officer and the possession of a firearm without a permit.

He will also be charged for producing a bogus police appointment certificate.

Meanwhile, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mtethwa says one of the reasons the ANC battles to deal with corruption is because it has inherited a corrupt system.

He also says the national democratic revolution will be in danger if the party doesn't act against corruption.

"You're inheriting this systematically corrupt state, in the process of introducing new ethos, you're going to be tripped."