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Durban – Former communications minister Dina Pule, who left public office under a cloud of corruption, is set to be part of a three-member panel tasked with resolving a dispute over the appointment of ANC candidates in Mpumalanga.
Pule is set to work alongside party veterans Ben Mthembu and Nokulunga Mkhonto.
According to a memorandum from Luthuli House, all disputes arising from the selection of candidates to represent the ANC in the upcoming local government elections will have to go to the provincial list committees.
If the disgruntled parties are not satisfied with the outcome, they can appeal to a higher structure.
The ANC in Mpumalanga has been besieged by members with complaints over how some members were selected, which has resulted in some branches in the Nkomazi area threatening not to vote for the ruling party during the municipal polls.
Pule on Thursday confirmed that she had been tasked with resolving the litany of disputes, adding she was doing so on a voluntary basis.
“I am a volunteer, as it states on the document you read. I volunteered my time and service to assist the organisation. I was not recommended or deployed. I am just a volunteer who is willing to spend time assisting my organisation,” Pule said.
Acting provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali defended Pule’s appointment, despite her name not being cleared of allegations of wrongdoing.
Ntshalintshali said Pule was a long-standing member of the ruling party in Mpumalanga and had stood in for Mkhonto when she had to go into Covid-19-related isolation.
Ntshalintshali then defended Pule by saying the allegations against her were never subjected to a court process and as such could not be used to prevent her from carrying out ANC work.
She said a number of ANC members were facing allegations that have not been proved and were carrying on with their lives.
She said the issue of unproven allegations was becoming a problem in the party, because some people made allegations to elbow out their opponents in order to occupy certain positions.
“There is no court of law that has made an opinion (ruling or findings) over her allegations. If there is no court that has convicted her, the allegations remain mere allegations. Let those who are making the allegations produce evidence,” she said.
Besides being a former minister, Pule once served as the deputy provincial secretary of the ANC in Mpumalanga, and later served as a member of the ANC national executive committee.
She is also a full-time staff member of the ANC in Mpumalanga.
Meanwhile, another former minister, Buyelwa Sonjica, has been roped in to help the ruling party to resolve similar disputes in the Western Cape.
Between 2009 and 2010 Sonjica, in the early days of the Jacob Zuma administration, was the minister of water and sanitation.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the ANC has tasked former MEC for Agriculture Cyril Xaba, who is now the chairperson of the portfolio committee on defence and military veterans, to handle the disputes.