KwaZulu-Natal - ANC veteran Bheki Cele was not being marginalised or denied access to party structures in the eThekwini region in the run-up to Mangaung, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal said on Wednesday.
On Monday, The Mercury reported that Cele’s name did not appear on the voters roll of his ward 74 branch in Lamontville.
It was also reported that provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala had withdrawn from a public meeting where he was to appear with Cele at the weekend.
An SACP event Cele was to address in Bhambayi earlier this year was also suddenly called off.
The ANC said on Wednesday that neither Cele nor any other ANC leaders were being sidelined.
“Comrade Zikalala and the entire ANC leadership, including the provincial chairman, Cde Zweli Mkhize, are in direct contact with Cde Cele.
“The ANC wants to state categorically that Cde Zikalala and the entire leadership have never avoided sharing public platforms with Cde Cele,” the party said in a statement.
It said it was not aware of the omission of Cele’s name from the voters roll and that it was compiled by the national office and not the province.
The province has been at pains to point out that Cele and the rest of the KZN party leadership were united, after allegations that he had joined the anti-Zuma camp after President Jacob Zuma sacked him from his position as national police commissioner earlier this year.
It was also reported that eThekwini had been rocked by infighting, that membership figures had been inflated and that in some cases crucial branch general meetings were held even though those branches failed to reach a quorum enabling them to do so.
Those quorums are crucial for the branch to proceed with the nomination of leaders and to choose delegates to represent it in Mangaung.
The Mercury also revealed that some members of the eThekwini regional executive committee were being sidelined to the detriment of branches which could not proceed with their branch general meetings without a regional executive committee member to oversee the process.
Zikalala said on Wednesday: “Our branch general meetings are going smoothly.
“The allegations of vote rigging and ghost membership have not been brought to the ANC’s attention.”
He urged the media to “avoid being used by people who spread lies with the sole aim of creating suspicions among our leaders”.