Ex-ANC MP Makhosi Khoza caught up in ABC factional battles

The Abantu Batho Congress (ABC), a political party that appeared out of nowhere and held kingmaker status in several KwaZulu-Natal municipalities, including eThekwini metro, is facing disarray and division.

Ahead of its elective conference, which is anticipated to take place in May or June, the three-year-old party is facing an existential threat as a result of clashes and squabbling over who should be in charge.

Everything came to a head this week when the party’s top leadership, led by businessman and former deputy mayor of eThekwni Philani Mavundla, declared that Makhosi Khoza, a contentious former ANC MP, would be the party’s deputy president.

Khoza was abruptly fired from ActionSA, where she held the positions of eThekwini metro councillor and chairperson for KwaZulu-Natal, leaving her in the political wilderness for months.

Embezzled party funds

In a stunning turn of events, a faction within the party asserted that Mavundla was no longer an ABC member and, therefore, lacked the power to appoint anyone to positions of leadership within the party.

“Mr Philani Mavundla and Phumelele Phaahla are no longer members of ABC, and they have no authority to appoint anyone to the top leadership. They were expelled by the party,” said Bhungu Gwala, the party’s former national chairperson, who became its president on Thursday.

Following allegations that they had embezzled party funds, Phaahla, the former secretary, and Mavundla were fired.

Gwala informed Sunday World that the party was currently looking into legal options to make Mavundla stop referring to himself as ABC’s president and carrying out party-related tasks.

“As the legitimate leadership, we are the ones who are in control of the party finances as per the constitution, which is explicit that only recognised leadership can have access to party funds,” Gwala said.

Khoza asked to resign

Mavundla, the mayor of Umvoti local municipality, which primarily encompasses the rural town of Greytown, has maintained control despite the internal squabbles and partisanship.

The town is well-known for its timber production and is located in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands.

Notwithstanding his survival through numerous attempts to remove him via a vote of no confidence, Mavundla has not had a pleasant tenure in office.

The ABC has a total of 24 municipal councillors, mostly in KwaZulu-Natal. It also has two councillors in Limpopo.

A letter obtained by Sunday World and addressed to Khoza and seven other individuals requests that they resign from their positions due to a lack of acceptance by the party’s membership.

Mavundla is adamant he is president

“The Abantu Batho Congress interim national executive committee has taken note that you have been appointed unlawfully as an ABC deputy president along with other members that you were appointed with for different positions,” reads the letter in part.

According to the letter, the co-opted names were not ABC members, despite the party constitution stating that a person must have been a member for at least two years in order to be deployed in any leadership capacity.

Mavundla, on the other hand, asserted that he was the party’s sole president, saying: “We do not take those who are against the party seriously.

“The appointments that were made are in place, and we are now concentrating on the approaching elections.”

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