ANC Youth League chairperson for the eThekwini region, Thembo Ntuli. Picture: Tumi Pakkies

Durban - A highly-anticipated eThekwini conference has divided the ANC Youth League in the region, with its chairperson, Thembo Ntuli, at war with fellow leaders on who should run the country’s biggest ANC structure.

The league, which was instrumental in bringing former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to power as regional chairperson in December 2015, has been crippled by the divisions.

eThekwini was among five regions in the province due to hold long-overdue conferences in December.

However, ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said on Tuesday that the decision by the national structure to migrate to a computerised membership system would further delay the respective conferences.

The ANCYL’s Thembo Ntuli has meanwhile been roped in to stand as the deputy regional chairperson for the ANC in what is thought to be a faction in support of Gumede.

On the other side, Thembo Ntuli’s deputy, Thembelihle Makhanya, and regional secretary of the league Thinta Cibane have sided with Thabani Nyawose, who is pitted against Gumede.

ANCYL regional spokesman Thulisa Ndlela said Thembo Ntuli was going against a resolution made by the league, which last month agreed to back Nyawose, as he was leading a slate that was inclusive of the youth.

Ndlela said that league members realised they had made a mistake when they backed Gumede in 2015. He said this time around, they had decided to support Bheki Ntuli (who is related to Thembo), to return to the top leadership structure as regional secretary, and for Thanduxolo Sabelo to be his deputy.

Thembo Ntuli has denied that there was a resolution by the league to back Nyawose, and said the matter would be dealt with internally. He also maintained he was approached by members to stand as the regional deputy chairperson, and that he was available to take up the seat.

Meanwhile, ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said the province wanted to ensure all regions had elected structures before the party’s national general conference, which was expected to take place between June and August next year.

He also said they wanted the province to complete all regional conferences so that it could focus on preparing for the local government elections.

Mdumiseni said although the provincial structure welcomed the new computer system where individuals could apply to join or renew memberships in their own homes, this might delay the conferences.

“So we asked the secretary-general (Ace Magashule) to look at the possibilities of us continuing with the old system so that we can still live up to our commitment of conferences before the end of December,” Ntuli said.

Political Bureau