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Cape Town - Fireworks are expected at the ANC’s special national executive committee meeting on Monday after three provincial conferences to nominate a new party leadership, including that of the Western Cape, collapsed at the weekend.
According to party conference rules, all provincial general council meetings had to conclude by Friday midnight, but the Western Cape, Limpopo and North West failed to finish in time.
However, insiders said Luthuli House ordered the ANC leadership in the Western Cape to reconvene late on Saturday, and ensure that delegates voted for their preferred candidates for the party’s top six posts.
Word is that President Jacob Zuma and the party’s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, lambasted the local leadership during a conference call, instructing them to call delegates back and finish the task.
The provincial general council had been adjourned in the small hours of Saturday for technical and logistical reasons, amid internal squabbles and disagreements, having missed the Friday midnight deadline.
Sources confirmed that when Zuma and Mantashe stepped in late on Saturday, members who had travelled back to their regions in the southern Cape, Karoo, West Coast and Boland, were forced to turn around and head back to Cape Town.
An alert informing delegates that the provincial general council was reconvening at 6pm at the Strand Towers hotel was sent out after 4pm.
Earlier, ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile blamed logistical delays for the failed provincial council, including the verification of branch delegates by external auditors.
But insiders said the issue was far more complicated, and accused the provincial executive of miscalculating by holding an administrative meeting on Friday morning.
Then there were problems with credentials. The Western Cape is allowed to send 178 branch delegates to Mangaung
from the province’s 170 branches, plus 20 provincial executive members, making a total of 198 delegates.
But because there are 28 provincial executive members, they had to decided on Friday morning which 20 could go.
Of the 170 branches, 122 were verified and audited. A further 21 had to be verified on Friday.
The verification team finished their task only at 2am on Saturday.
The third problem was that 27 branches had declared disputes during their branch general meetings, and a source said these had not been resolved by Friday.
Weekend Argus understands Luthuli House ordered that those branches with unresolved disputes and verification issues should be allowed to participate in on Saturday’s reconvened provincial council.
Local ANC members have been divided on who they want elected as ANC president at Mangaung, and turmoil over the top six national positions has intensified as branches in the metro region battled to get quorums.
Meanwhile at Polokwane in Limpopo, the ANC’s third largest region, the ANC provincial council was abandoned about midnight on Friday after a group allegedly wearing President Jacob Zuma T-shirts “stormed AWB-style like at Codesa [the negotiations over transition to democracy]” into the venue, according to one official. Proceedings were completely disrupted.
Limpopo ANC spokesman Makonde Mathivha said ANC leaders were insulted by “hooligans”, and had to be rushed to safety through the back door of the venue, which was damaged.
“We are very worried. It can’t be allowed to happen in the ANC which is leading the government,” he said. “It portrays the organisation in a very, very bad light.”
In the North West,
factionalism meant two rival conferences were initially scheduled. This came on top of incidents of intimidation and shoddy administration at some of the other ANC provincial general councils, and follows violence and disruptions at some earlier nominations meetings.
If there is no agreement on the nominations from the three regions, the national conference in two weeks runs the risk of being thrown into turmoil.
While ANC branch delegates cast secret ballots at the national conference, provincial pronouncements indicate way the wind is blowing.
Mantashe told reporters the fate of Limpopo’s conference would be decided on Monday.
While North West ANC secretary Kabelo Mataboge on Saturday confirmed the nominations conference would go ahead, neither he nor other senior officials would say whether Mantashe had given his blessing.
However, ANC NEC deployee to the North West, Thaba Mufamadi, said the conference was scheduled to proceed after a meeting on Saturday afternoon over branch verification reports and security arrangements for Mataboge, who was shot at, but not injured, on Friday.
The Eastern Cape and Northern Cape came out in support of Zuma early on Saturday, boosting his chances for a second term. He also has the backing of KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and Mpumalanga.
The Northern Cape unanimously endorsed Zuma, but picked Kgalema Motlanthe to remain as his deputy, with Baleka Mbete continuing as chairwoman and Gwede Mantashe as secretary-general.
His deputy would be Sports minister Fikile Mbalula, with Lindiwe Sisulu as treasurer.
Widely touted as a pro-change province, the Eastern Cape gave Zuma 392 votes against 211 for Motlanthe.
From the voting record it emerges that the Chris Hani region led the pro-Zuma charge.
The region also ensured that businessman Cyril Ramaphosa beat Motlanthe for nomination as deputy president.
After the Eastern Cape results were announced around 3am, a visibly upset pro-change delegate from Buffalo City blamed “ghost members” for the pro-Zuma provincial pronouncement. Some were in tears. Others in the second-term camp wore yellow T-shirts with Zuma’s face and “Phinda Msholozi (Do it again, Msholozi)” with “2” indicating a second term emblazoned on the back.
Gauteng is the only province so far to support Motlanthe. It nominated him as president, with Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale as his deputy and Mantashe staying on as secretary-general.
The ANC women’s and veterans’ leagues have come out in support of Zuma as president, with Ramaphosa as his deputy, Mantashe as secretary-general, Jessie Duarte as his deputy and KwaZulu-Natal premier and ANC chairman Zweli Mkhize as treasurer.