Durban - The two contenders for political power in the ANC’s eThekwini region have allayed fears that the crucial elective conference kicking off at the Durban ICC later on Friday will descend into chaos.
Both Zandile Gumede, the former eThekwini mayor and RET supporter, and Thabani Nyawose, a Cyril Ramaphosa backer who is the current speaker in the municipality, said the conference would be a success.
The two have been having private meetings to ensure that the conference goes ahead, and whoever loses accepts the result.
Gumede is leading a slate where her deputy will be Thembo Ntuli and the regional secretary position will go to Musa Nciki. His deputy will be Nkosenhle Madlala, who is a senior ANC councillor in the eThekwini municipality. Zoe Shabalala will contest as regional treasurer.
In the other slate, Nyawose will be the regional chairperson and his deputy will be Mthunzi Dlamini.
Following a swop, the faction opted to bring in Bheki Ntuli, who was the regional secretary during Gumede’s reign in the region, and asked him to try to retain the position under it.
Ntuli’s deputy will be Thanduxolo Sabelo, a former backer of Gumede who dumped her following a fallout around 2017. Ntokozo Sibiya will be the treasurer of the slate.
Speaking about the conference, Gumede said all she wants is to see the eThekwini region having an elected leadership after years of a vacuum.
“The conference is for delegates and of course I want it to be a success. I want it to elect leaders and take policy resolutions that will take the ANC forward. I want to see the region having an elected leadership,” Gumede said.
Asked whether she would accept the results should she be defeated, she said yes.
“That is what (accepting conference results) we were taught in the ANC. If everything has been conducted accordingly, I will have no problem with accepting the results of the conference,” she said.
Nyawose echoed almost similar hopes to those of Gumede.
“There is nothing I know of that can collapse the conference, it will be successful. The credibility of the conference depends on how processes like convening of BGMs and resolving disputes have been conducted. So far I am satisfied with all that has been done.
“If I lose the conference I will accept the results, and I will be bound by the conference resolutions… In the ANC there is no winner or loser… by the way I have been a loser several times, yet I soldiered on,” Nyawose said.
As the conference gets under way, the Daily News can exclusively reveal that the two biggest branches of the ANC in the country – located in the region – will not have voting rights.
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 to nominate their preferred candidates ahead of the crucial regional conference, hence their delegates will have no right to vote.
The branches failed to meet their deadline, even after late last month, the provincial working committee of the ANC opened two fresh windows for all the 28 (out of 111) 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 4 000 members (its 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 1800 members, making it the biggest in the country and in the eThekwini region, dislodging the KwaXimba branch.
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.