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ANC’s biggest branches to miss crucial eThekwini regional conference

Mdumiseni Ntuli’s branch will not be able to vote this weekend. File photo: ANA

Mdumiseni Ntuli’s branch will not be able to vote this weekend. File photo: ANA

Published Apr 7, 2022

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Durban - The Daily News can exclusively reveal that the two biggest branches of the ANC in the country which are located in the eThekwini region will not have voting rights in the region’s elective conference starting on Friday at the Durban ICC.

The wards, 1 in KwaXimba and 91 in Hammarsdale outside Durban, partly because of infighting, have several times failed to convene their branch general meetings so that they could nominate their preferred candidates ahead of the crucial regional conference, hence their delegates will have no right to vote.

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The branches failed even after late last month the provincial working committee of the ANC opened two fresh windows for all the 28 (out of 111) members who were previously disqualified to try to convene again and nominate their preferred leaders.

Around 2017, ahead of the Nasrec conference, the once-influential ward 1 had about 4000 members (the membership now stands at 891) and it brought the largest voting delegation to the elective conference, where it was backing the slate of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Currently, ward 91 has about 1 800 members, making it the biggest in the country and in the eThekwini region, dislodging the KwaXimba branch.

Prominent members of the KwaXimba branch include Mdumiseni Ntuli, the ANC’s provincial secretary, Bheki Ntuli, the former eThekwini regional secretary who is now a member of the regional task team, and Thembo Ntuli, who is gunning for the position of deputy regional chairperson under the slate of Zandile Gumede and Musa Nciki.

However, the Ntuli brothers will take part in the eThekwini conference using their various party positions. Thembo will participate as a guest since he is the whip of the council in the ANC-run eThekwini Metro.

Kwazi Mshengu, the ANC-appointed convener of the region since it does not have full-time leadership, said he was unable to comment because he was yet to receive the report about branches that were eligible to take part in the conference.

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“The final report will only be available this afternoon,” Mshengu said.

Mbongi Hlongwa, the leader of the KwaXimba branch confirmed that they will not be voting.

“We are not going to the conference,” he said.

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The leader of the Hammarsdale branch, Philani Hlengwa, could not be reached for comment as his phone rang unanswered.

The dispute resolution committee was still bogged down, trying to resolve last- minutes disputes as some branches felt that they were unfairly disqualified and wanted to be allowed to take part in the conference.

Meanwhile, despite the looming two centres of power in the region, the mayor of eThekwini Municipality, Mxolisi Kaunda, said he was not worried about being removed by the winning faction as he was appointed by the Luthuli House.

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Speaking to the Daily News on Wednesday from the Durban City Hall, he said regional structures had no powers to decide mayors for metros as those powers had since been taken over by Luthuli House.

This was in response to allegations that one of the two factions vying for political power ahead of the elective regional conference had proposed that Kaunda should be recalled after the conference.

“I am not worried… it’s their right, there is nothing wrong (with discussing issues around the position of mayor),” Kaunda said.

Kaunda's position is made vulnerable by the fact that he is not vying for power in the region as he is already a member of the ANC provincial executive committee in KwaZulu-Natal.

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