Durban - The number of voting delegates in the too close to call ANC eThekwini regional conference has been revised after some branches successfully appealed their exclusion.
Initially, 88 of the 111 branches were eligible to vote following an audit which was done by Luthuli House late last month.
WATCH: After a three hour delay, ANC members who are delegates for the party's eThekwini region elective conference have started arriving at the Durban ICC where the voting will take place. The contest is between Zandile Gumede and Thabani Nyawose. @IOL @DailyNewsSA pic.twitter.com/V9u0FQxAqo— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 9, 2022
However, the Daily News understands that some branches lodged appeals and they were allowed to join the voting queue when the regional conference gets off the ground at the Durban ICC on Saturday.
The contest at this much-awaited conference is between former eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede and Thabani Nyawose, the current speaker in the same municipality.
WATCH: Things are starting to move a bit at the Durban ICC following the arrival of a group delegates loyal to Thabani Nyawose who is up against Zandile Gumede. @DailyNewsSA pic.twitter.com/gOszsZXoHR— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 9, 2022
Gumede is openly pro-RET (radical economic transformation) forces, while Nyawose is a Cyril Ramaphosa man. Again, Gumede will contest the conference in absentia, as the ANC’s step aside resolution bars criminally charged members from attending its gatherings.
The tally of voting delegates was first pegged at 406 but it was later revised down to 378. Later the number was revised up to 393, following appeals by some branches.
“The number of voting delegates, for now, is 393, but it can still be revised as more branches win their appeals,” an insider who attended the allocation process told the Daily News.
WATCH: Despite not being able to vote at the ongoing eThekwini ANC regional conference, some supporters of Zandile Gumede braced the perennial heavy rain to show their support outside the Durban ICC. They called themselves friends of Zandile Gumede delegates.— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 9, 2022
The biggest winner in the process to revise the number of delegates was the ANC Women’s League. Initially, the league was to be allocated 10 voting delegates, but after a revision, the league was given five more seats.
“We ended up with 13 voting delegates,” said a pro-Zandile delegate before the spokesperson of the ANC in the province, Nhlakanipho Ntombela confirmed the figure in a statement.
Meanwhile, after a four-hour delay in starting the conference, things started happening around noon when a group of delegates loyal to Thabani Nyawose arrived singing songs that signal that they are confident they will win the hotly contested elective conference.
Ntando Khuzwayo, the spokesperson of the supporters of Gumede quickly told the Daily News that their delegates were on their way to the venue as well.
Outside the venue, and despite the perennial heavy downpour, a group of Gumede supporters camped to show their support. Calling themselves “Friends of Zandile Gumede delegates” they sang a song saying: “Sell outs must vacate their seats and allow Zandile to rule”.