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Claims Oscar Mabuyane supporters plotting to postpone Eastern Cape provincial elective conference

Oscar Mabuyane. Picture: File

Oscar Mabuyane. Picture: File

Published May 6, 2022


Pretoria - Supporters of Eastern Cape ANC treasurer Babalo Madikizela, who is challenging chairperson and premier Oscar Mabuyane for the party’s top job, have again claimed that their rivals are plotting to postpone the elective conference to buy time and regroup.

Yesterday, ANC Alfred Nzo regional spokesperson Onke Diko – a strong ally of Madikizela – said the alleged mooted postponement was discussed at a meeting between the provincial task team (PTT) and the national leadership, led by ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile.

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The provincial elective conference is expected to begin at the East London International Convention Centre in the Buffalo Metro today, and run until Sunday. A total of 1 500 delegates from 670 branches are expected to elect their preferred leaders.

This comes after the ANC national executive committee (NEC) recently disbanded the provincial leadership after their term of office expired almost three years ago.

The ANC, however, retained Mabuyane as convenor (chairperson) and former provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi as co-ordinator (secretary), effectively allowing them to be at the helm of organising the conference.

Mabuyane and Ngcukayitobi are aligned to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR22 campaign.

Diko claimed Mabuyane’s faction, which dominates the PTT, raised the possibility of postponing the conference at a meeting with Mashatile and other senior leaders, because the numbers were not on their side.

“We are ready for them. We have criss-crossed the province for our cause. It is for that reason that they tried to postpone the conference after they were unhappy with the outcome of branch meetings.

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“They tried to manipulate the outcomes of branch meetings, but they failed. This is an indication that Comrade Madikizela is more likely to be chairperson of the province,” Diko said.

But Mabuyane described allegations of an attempt to postpone the conference as “utter rubbish and nonsense”, saying the PTT’s duty was to ensure that there were no obstacles to the ­conference.

“We are ready for the conference. I am ready as convenor of the conference. We are expecting all 1 500 delegates. We have a duty to ensure that all 670 branches of the ANC, including 10% of the leagues, attend the conference and elect their leaders,” Mabuyane said.

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The race for the provincial chairperson position looks set to be a two-horse battle between Mabuyane and Madikizela, despite the deputy speaker of the Provincial Legislature, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, also being punted for the top job.

Detailing their slate, Diko said they would vote for Madikizela as provincial chairperson, Xolile Kompela as his deputy, Thembelani Teris Ntuthu as provincial secretary, and Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe as his deputy.

Former ANC Youth League deputy president and former Nelson Mandela Bay Municipal councillor Andile Lungisa is tipped to become the provincial treasurer in the same slate.

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“We are confident that the numbers are on our side. We are going to win the conference. Out of the eight regions of the province, we are guaranteed to gain a majority vote in four of the regions; Alfred Nzo, Amathole, Joe Gqabi and Nelson Mandela Bay.

“We are taking 220 delegates from Alfred Nzo, and we are sure that 210 of them will vote for Madikizela. In Amathole, we are guaranteed 186 delegates out of a total of 190 voting delegates,” Diko said.

He was also adamant that they would get support from other regions such as OR Tambo and Buffalo City, which apparently have strong ties to Mabuyane. Mabuyane confirmed his availability ahead of the expected announcement by the electoral body charged with overseeing the provincial leadership elections.

Mabuyane said: “I would accept nomination if the electoral body announces myself as one of the candidates for top leadership of the party.”

He, however, did not want to comment on the other candidates, saying he heard from the media that there were three candidates vying for the provincial chairpersonship.

Madikizela and Qoboshiyane could not be reached for comment. Qoboshiyane had earlier indicated his intention to stand through the media. He said that the provincial leadership elected at the controversial 2017 conference had failed to bring unity and cohesion in the party.

The electoral body is expected to announce the names of candidates who were successfully nominated for the top five positions. The body will then oversee the election of the top five leaders later tonight.

Pretoria News