ANC elective conference is likely to be postponed again
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DURBAN - THE ANC's provincial elective regional conferences are likely to be postponed, after most of the branches were disqualified due to technical glitches from the embattled party’s head office, at Luthuli House in Joburg.
Almost all the party's regions were due for conferences, and had been given a deadline of May 30 to have sat and elected new leaders. With only two weeks remaining before the deadline, regions have raised concerns that they were unlikely to meet it.
Regions had, in the past, complained about delays which they said were caused by demarcation processes and the situation was compounded by the disqualification of many branches that had already held their branch general meetings (BGMs).
The party’s provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela told the Daily News on Monday that most of the branches, which sat for their BGMs, were informed on Friday that they were disqualified.
He said it was not because of irregularities but the problem was with IT at their head office. Ntombela said the party was busy sorting out the problem, but it was now clear that branches would not be meeting the May 30 deadline.
“The May 30 deadline is out and we are discussing June 15 as the new deadline. The party is discussing whether conferences can take place at the same time as the candidate selection process. Remember, we are also preparing candidate lists for local government elections on October 27,” said Ntombela.
The Daily News has learnt that two of the biggest regions in the province – Moses Mabhida in Pietermaritzburg and eThekwini – were badly affected.
An eThekwini regional leader, who asked not to be named, said out of 21 branches only four qualified.
Meanwhile, in the Moses Mabhida region, regional convener Thulani Xulu said he had accepted what the party told them.
He said, as branches, they respected ANC processes and would abide by the party decision. Xulu, who has been nominated by his faction to be chairperson, said out of the 42 branches that sat, 31 were disqualified.
“We will not have a problem if the party wants to correct things. We want to have a smooth process towards our conference, where the outcome will be accepted by all participants,” said Xulu.
An investigation by Independent Media, into the state of the party’s 11 regions, found that several slates had emerged in the run-up to the elective conferences. These emerged when the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) announced that regions and provinces could start preparing for their conferences.
IOL had reported that only four regions appeared not to have slates – Josiah Gumede (Uthukela), Harry Gwala, Lower South Coast and Inkosi Bhambatha (uMzinyathi) regions.
The two were key lobbyists for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa, respectively, going into the ANC’s 54th conference in 2017.
The battle to control eThekwini was again intensifying, because it was again expected that the winner would determine the outcome of the 55th elective conference of the ANC next year.
Radical economic transformation (RET) forces were said to be working on a plan to challenge President Cyril Ramaphosa in his bid for a second term.
In the Moses Mabhida region, it was expected to be a two-horse race – after former Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwana’s faction had agreed to merge with former CR17 lobbyists, to form one slate.
Xulu confirmed that he had met Dlungwana several times to discuss unity. He said, to him, the position was not an issue and he was prepared to settle for any position – as long as it would unite the ANC.
Speculations were that Xulu would contest as deputy chairperson, while Dlungwana would fight for chairmanship. The merger between their factions meant that Dlungwana would square up against his former ally Mzi Zuma, whose faction sources said wanted to be chairperson. In the previous leadership, Zuma was the secretary while Dlungwana was the chairperson.