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Eastern Cape - Dozens of ANC members in the Eastern Cape sang and stamped their feet for President Jacob Zuma on Friday morning ahead of a vote for nominees to lead the party.
The delegates, who wore yellow T-shirts bearing Zuma's image beneath the words “ANC for Zuma”, sang songs in praise of the president inside an auditorium at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, shortly before 10am.
The vote, to nominate leaders for the party's national elective conference in Mangaung in December, was scheduled for Thursday, but was delayed so that officials could verify the credentials of voting candidates.
“Once the national audit team has finalised its work of verifying the delegates, we can proceed,” the party's provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane said.
By 10am, however, the auditorium was still noticeably empty, with no visible signs that the conference was about to get underway.
The vote comes after the ANC said it would not recognise a unanimous vote by the OR Tambo region in Mthatha for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to lead the party.
Mabuyane said the meeting, of the ANC's second-largest region, was “irregular” and “not properly convened”.
“The meeting was flawed. It was not properly convened and was not a formal meeting. It is neither here nor there that we accept the outcome or not.”
All 107 delegates at the meeting had supported Motlanthe to take over as ANC president, with Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale as his deputy, and Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula as secretary general.
“We need to know how it was convened, how delegates were informed, how branches were informed, and how they reached their decision,” ANC provincial spokesman Mlibo Qoboshiyane said.
Earlier this month, the ANC in the Eastern Cape was hit by reports of “ghost members” on its membership books.
Databases from public and private institutions had reportedly been used to obtain people's details and enrol them. The regional secretary for the Alfred Nzo area, Sicelo Bani, said his region had 79 branches of which only 63 had passed the verification process.
“Sixteen of our branches are in Calata House (the ANC Eastern Cape's King William's Town headquarters) sitting in appeals as we speak,” Bani told the Daily Dispatch newspaper on Friday.
“We expect all of them to pass the appeal.”
OR Tambo regional secretary Jackson Sabona said his locality had been experiencing similar problems.
“We discovered some delegates' names do not appear in the registration list,” he said.
The Eastern Cape ANC is due to use the meeting in Alice to fine-tune its policy positions ahead of the Mangaung conference.
The province is due to take 676 delegates, the second-biggest delegation, to the ANC's leadership election in December. - Sapa