Polokwane - The African National Congress in Limpopo on Tuesday evening postponed its nomination conference to allow branches to conclude nomination meetings.
“The planned African National Congress Limpopo provincial nomination conference has been rescheduled to a new date to accommodate outstanding branch general meetings (BGMs),” it said in a statement.
“Remaining branches have until Friday, November 30, 2012 to conclude the BGMs.”
The new conference date would be announced in due course.
Earlier, provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane said about 14 percent of ANC branches in Limpopo had failed to hold nomination meetings by Tuesday. Close to 70 branches had not finished processes. The province is made up of five regions, comprising about 515 branches.
The Peter Mokaba region had the most outstanding branches, with 22 of 98 yet to hold BGMs.
In the Mopani region 14 out of 124 branches were still outstanding, in Sekhukhune 10 out of 121 and in Vhembe seven out of 97 had not completed meetings.
Lekganyane said the provincial office had not received an update on Waterberg, but regional secretary Andries Lekalakala said four of the 75 branches in the region had not completed their BGMs.
The branches had until 9am on Wednesday to convene, or be excluded from the nomination conference. About 461 delegates would attend the nomination conference. About 574 delegates in the province qualified to attend the ANC's national elective conference in Mangaung next month.
Lekganyane blamed regions' failure to hold BGMs on organisational problems.
“You have a situation where people are members of the ANC, but they have not joined the ANC, they have joined a party that leads government,” he said.
“So, when you go to a meeting of the ANC it becomes seriously contested, and the contest is not even ideological. It's contested in terms of a materialistic value system.”
Lekganyane said this could lead to a decline in the quality of members in future. Unfortunately, there was no political curriculum vitae to determine who would be a good party member.
The decrease in the numbers was a setback for the campaign for change, as Limpopo and Gauteng were the power base of this faction, which wanted Zuma replaced as ANC president.
They had nominated Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to stand for the post of ANC president.
The ANC's biggest province, KwaZulu-Natal, which would take 974 delegates to the national elective conference, had backed President Jacob Zuma for a second term. Mpumalanga and the Free State were also likely to back Zuma.
Lekganyane said he was not worried about whether Motlanthe would accept the nomination.
“He has a right as a member of the ANC to accept or decline nomination, and I don't think we should be worried about whether he is available or not available. The ANC has never been centred around an individual,” he said.
Provinces supporting Motlanthe said he embodied the qualities of a good leader. Lekganyane said this was evident in the way he kept the ANC together during his 10 years as the party's secretary-general.
“We have seen a good and selfless cadre of the ANC in him and we think he has set a very good example.” Party members needed to ask themselves what kind of leader they needed, especially at this time. Despite the call for change, Lekganyane said it would not be a problem if Zuma were re-elected.
“Political epochs will differ from one to another. If in a particular epoch he can be appropriate to lead an organisation, it does not always mean that he will be appropriate at all times.” However, if ANC members in a given era felt that a certain person had to be the leader at that time, there was nothing wrong with that.
“Politically, President Zuma is not a bad person. Each and every human being may have limitations and I think we must live with that and accept that.” Members of the party had to decide who would take the party forward. Despite the province calling for change there was a strong pro-Zuma faction.
Last year, at the Limpopo elective conference, provincial premier Cassel Mathale marginally won the position of chairperson by 82 votes against the pro-Zuma candidate.
He got 601 votes while Deputy Arts and Culture Minister Joe Phaahla received 519.
The ANC's provinces had until November 30 to complete their nomination conferences. During these conferences, delegates would nominate their preferences for the ANC's top six positions and 80 national executive committee (NEC) members.
Four names had emerged as the favourites for deputy president.
Provinces calling for a second term for Zuma had endorsed the incumbent, Motlanthe, or NEC member Cyril Ramaphosa.
Those wanting Zuma replaced were backing Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale or ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa.
KwaZulu-Natal was the only province which had completed its nomination conference. Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Free State were expected to hold theirs on Thursday. - Sapa