Mpumalanga - Mpumalanga ANC convenor Mandla Ndlovu and former provincial secretary Lucky Ndinisa have emerged as the main contenders for the position of provincial chairperson.
The two men were nominated by the 700 delegates at the 13th elective provincial conference at the Witbank Dam, Emalahleni, in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The other two contenders - Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane and former provincial executive committee (PEC) member Peter Nyoni - failed to make the cut.
Ndlovu, a former protege of Deputy President David “DD” Mabuza, got the nod from 160 of the 318 ANC branches in Mpumalanga. He is believed to have switched political allegiance to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR22 faction.
Ndinisa, who served as provincial secretary when Mabuza was Mpumalanga ANC chairperson, was nominated from the floor by 222 delegates. He is thought to have joined forces with Mabuza’s faction in the province.
Mtsweni-Tsipane threw in the towel and withdrew from the race before nominations started, apparently after realising she did not have enough support to make it to the ballot. Nyoni failed to make the threshold for nomination.
Nkangala regional chairperson Speedy Mashilo, a fierce opponent of Mabuza and an ally to Ndlovu, will lock horns with David Nhlabathi for the position of deputy provincial chairperson. The battle for the powerful position of provincial secretary will be between Muzi Chirwa and Pat Ngomane.
Mpumalanga ANC coordinator, Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, declined nomination for the provincial secretary position, the same position she occupied until recently. However, she accepted nomination for the deputy secretary position after being nominated by 170 branches. She will face off with Charles Ndlovu.
The contest for the treasurer’s position is between murder accused and former Agriculture MEC Mandla Msibi and former MEC for Sports Arts and Culture, Norah Mahlangu.
Msibi accepted nomination through a letter because he was forced to step aside from participating in ANC activities pending the outcome of his court case.
Msibi is facing charges of murder and attempted murder following a shooting incident at a Mbombela shisanyama in August last year. Former Mpumalanga ANC spokesperson, Sasekani Manzini declined nomination from the floor for both the secretary and deputy secretary positions.
Delegates started voting for their preferred candidates shortly after 2am on Saturday morning after the nomination process concluded. Uncertainty over the future of the provincial conference was cleared after the High Court in Gauteng yesterday dismissed an urgent application by four disgruntled party members who were looking to interdict the conference.
Fakazi Shongwe, Francisco Vilankulo, Vusi Mabena and Edward Mahlangu had claimed in court papers that the ANC national working committee had no powers to dissolve the provincial executive committee (PEC). The PEC was dissolved in February after its term of office lapsed.
Former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, who is believed to be challenging Ramaphosa for the ANC presidency at the national conference in December, attended the conference. Ramaphosa is expected to officially close the conference on Sunday.