Moves are afoot in the Northern Cape to deal with premier Sylvia Lucas, after she controversially reshuffled her cabinet a day before the province's elective conference this week.
According to Business Day, branches in the province could call for her recall or for disciplinary action against her. The provincial conference was reportedly postponed twice because of complaints about the nomination process.
Lucas is seen to be an ally of President Jacob Zuma while her rival, Provincial Secretary Zamani Saul, is seen to be aligned to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, according to the paper.
On Wednesday, Lucas reshuffled her provincial cabinet in what was seen as a move against her detractors in the province. On Thursday, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa rebuked Lucas.
"We view this as a flagrant abuse of her office to further divide the ANC and undermine the unity of the organisation ... Our deployees must desist from misusing their deployment to deepen divisions within the ANC," he reportedly said.
Business Day also quoted axed MEC for finance Mac Jack as saying his removal was an act of intimidation. The paper could not reach Lucas for comment.
Saul called the reshuffle "very suspect".
"We want to put it on record that the ANC was not consulted and we don't know anything about this reshuffling. We also want to put it on record that the reshuffling has got nothing to do with service delivery but has everything to influence the outcome of the conference. This is grossly irresponsible, reckless and self-serving," he said.
According to Daily Maverick, the Northern Cape ANC's woes are a sign of broader divisions in the party ahead of its national elective conference in December.
Kodwa reportedly referred to an ANC conference resolution that said government deployees had to consult party structures before making decisions on government appointments – something Lucas did not do.
But Zuma is reportedly accused of doing the same during his last cabinet reshuffle, which saw finance minister Pravin Gordhan axed.
Daily Maverick reported that a group of Northern Cape ANC members protested outside the ANC's headquarters in Johannesburg on Tuesday. They accused Saul of manipulating branch numbers ahead of the conference, something Saul denies.
Cosatu provincial leader Anele Gxoyiya called for Lucas to resign over the reshuffle.
"The reshuffling was not based on strengthening cabinet or due to the incompetence of the MECs. Instead it was motivated by selecting cabinet members who are perceived to be loyal to her. The decision was not sanctioned by the alliance partners," he said.