The African National Congress (ANC) in the Free State is battling to contain crisis on several fronts. Disgruntled party members are threatening court action against the newly-elected leadership.

Moreover, 17 party members have been suspended for allegedly failing to adhere to party rules. They include three mayors from Dihlabeng, Fezile Dabi and Maluti a Phofung.

Fourteen councillors in the Maluti a Phofung have been suspended. The future of Dihlabeng Executive Mayor Lindiwe Makhalema, Fezile Dabi’s Magugudi Oliphant and Gilbert Mokotso of Maluti a Phofung hangs in the balance.

Makhalema referred to President Cyril Ramaphosa as a “sell-out” in a controversial Facebook post and the party’s leadership structure in the Thabo Mofutsanyana District has been disbanded.

“This illegal PEC they are taking a number of decisions to disband regions, as they did with Thabo Mofutsanyana. They are busy wanting to remove certain mayors. We are also aware that they want to call regional conferences. We want to warn them that all those decisions will be regarded as illegal,” says Free State ANC Disgruntled Group Spokesperson, Monnapule Ntamo.

The Free State ANC was thrown into disarray in December. The PEC was dissolved by a court order for violating its own constitution.

“Some of these fights are motivated by parasitic interests because the parasitic network interest has deep roots in the Free State.  We have written a letter to ANC requesting a bilateral about the current conditions in the province,” says Free State South African Communist Party Secretary Bheke Stofile.

The ANC maintains it is working hard to restore unity. “We are rolling out a political programme to ensure as part of uniting the ANC and as instructed by the NEC and the decision by the PEC that we must also do everything else to unite the ANC,” says Free State ANC Spokesperson Thabo Meeko.

The ANC says it is nevertheless ready to defend itself in court.