Former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Danny Jordaan’s determination to dismantle the dominant “Stalini” faction in that ANC region cost the governing party in the local government election.
A case study of state capture at local government level fingers a faction run by former Nelson Mandela Bay regional chairperson Nceba Faku and other Eastern Cape ANC leaders as the ones to blame for the election defeat.
The Democratic Alliance took control of the coastal city metro in a coalition council after the ANC won just over 40% of the vote.
The research, commissioned by Pravin Gordhan when he was co-operative governance minister, was carried out by the Public Affairs Research Institute, an independent institution affiliated to the University of the Witwatersrand.
“The election was sabotaged … in the final run-up to voting day, the Stalini group and province-aligned forces actively sabotaged the election,” report author Crispian Olver told the Mail Guardian this week.
The faction is named after a popular meeting spot called Stalini, a community hall in Port Elizabeth’s Zwide township, where powerful ANC leaders in the city and their allies in the South African Communist Party and trade unions allegedly conspired to take control of the metro’s budget and tender processes.
Olver’s report focused on the capture of the metro’s human settlements department and on irregular tenders and deals struck between ANC politicians and Port Elizabeth businesspeople.
Most of the deals relate to the Integrated Public Transport System, the construction of the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium and to its management. A civil case to recoup R300-million from the people involved in these deals will be heard in the high court this year.
Olver’s report was finalised and handed to the department of co-operative governance and local government at the end of December.
In his findings, Olver suggests the decision by national ANC leaders to appoint Jordaan as mayor 15 months before elections led to the destabilisation of the dominant faction and their links to state resources.
“The new mayor wasted no time in laying down the law, publicly telling the provincial ANC leadership not to meddle in his administration,” the report reads.
After Jordaan took up office, the political staff in his predecessor Ben Fihla’s office were fired or negotiated early departures, “thereby disrupting old networks and communication lines to the ANC regional office”, the report continued.
A battle for power took place in the regional task team deployed by Luthuli House to replace the region when it was disbanded in May 2015.
Jordaan reconstituted the mayoral committee and national ANC leaders deployed a new deputy mayor, chief whip and speaker of council.