ABC disarray: Leaders of key ANC coalition partner ordered to ‘step aside’

ABC disarray: Leaders of key ANC coalition partner ordered to ‘step aside’
ABC disarray: Leaders of key ANC coalition partner ordered to ‘step aside’

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Abantu Batho Congress (ABC) president Philani Mavundla and party secretary-general Phumelele Phahla have been suspended by an internal structure after allegations of misconduct and failure to account for party finances.

The party maintained that Mavundla will remain its mayor in the uMvoti Local Municipality, where he landed the mayoral chain through a coalition with the ANC and the NFP.

Phahla is a PR councillor in the Msunduzi Local Municipality.

The ABC, which looks set to be a key player in the 2024 elections in KwaZulu-Natal, is an important ally for the ANC in the province where it helped the ruling party elbow out the IFP in uMvoti in June.

Mavundla’s camp has met accusations of irregularities with counter-accusations of an “internal coup” from an “illegitimate” structure.

The party’s national executive committee (NEC) placed Mavundla on suspension, citing irregularities in the management of the party, at least two leaders confirmed at a press briefing on Wednesday.

But those close to Mavundla, who also serves as Zulu King Misuzulu kaZwelithini’s advisor, told News24 the other camp was “illegitimate” and was attempting to stage a “coup” ahead of the elections.

Addressing the briefing, ABC member Mdu Hlongwa, seated alongside co-founder and chairperson Bhungu Gwala, said the party’s national disciplinary committee (NDC) wrote to Mavundla and Phahla, giving them seven days to respond to the allegations and why they shouldn’t be suspended.

Hlongwa and Gwala said the two leaders failed to respond and, as a result, were suspended.

Reading nervously from a prepared statement, Hlongwa said Mavundla failed to account for the organisation’s funds.

Hlongwa said:

Addressing the briefing at a late stage, Hlongwa said the duo “won’t touch anything relating to the party”.

However, when asked by News24 if Mavundla would remain mayor in uMvoti, Hlongwa answered in the affirmative.

He didn’t respond to a question on how much Mavundla allegedly failed to account for.

Hlongwa said Mavundla and Phahla made their own independent decisions in meetings where Gwala was often uninvited.

An ABC leader who is close to Mavundla, said: “The NDC, all of them, are not members of the organisation.”

Hlongwa said ABC had a complement of 41 NEC members and a temporary NDC, which is structured in line with the party’s constitution.

He showed News24 documents that appeared to dismiss Mavundla’s claim that the NDC was an illegitimate structure.

Speaker of uMvoti, Mfundo Masondo, on behalf of Mavundla, said the ABC leader would respond to the allegations on Monday.

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