DURBAN - Tensions arose on the first day of the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) 6th conference as delegates raised concerns about alleged favouritism towards the Harry Gwala region.
As the conference delayed by over a day, disgruntled delegates remained camped outside the party's provincial headquarters, Pixley Ka Seme House, awaiting registration and accreditation.
They accused the leadership of bias towards Nonhlanhla Khoza, the MEC for Social Development, who is vying for a leadership position against Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and Hlengiwe Mavimbela, Chair of Chairs in the Provincial Legislature.
Khoza, a prominent figure in the ANC, hails from the Harry Gwala region, which is also the home of Bheki Mtolo, Secretary of the ANC. These connections have led to speculation and questions regarding Harry Gwala's perceived control over the party.
The ANCWL delegates expressed their frustration, alleging that the leadership's preference for candidates from the Harry Gwala region was indicative of gatekeeping practices.
They argued that this alleged favouritism undermined the principles of democracy and fairness within the party.
The delay in commencing the conference has further fuelled tensions among delegates, who are eager to participate in the proceedings. However, the ANC leadership has assured delegates that the registration and accreditation process will be expedited to ensure a fair and transparent conference.
Critics of the ANC have also raised concerns over the perceived influence of the Harry Gwala region within the party. They argue that the concentration of power within a particular region undermines the party's commitment to broader representation and democratic decision-making.
"We are feeling quite perplexed as it appears that certain candidates are being given preferential treatment over others. It has come to our attention that certain individuals, who are not officially registered to participate in the conference, are being actively courted and lobbied. It seems that the Harry Gwala Region is a superpower simply because the Provincial Secretary hails from there. We have been waiting here since morning, attempting to obtain the necessary accreditation in order to exercise our right to vote," stated one delegate outside the ANC provincial headquarters.
Another delegate also alleged that there were complications with the registration process.
She claimed that certain delegates were purposefully disregarded due to their perceived support for a candidate who is not favored by the provincial leadership.
As the ANCWL conference remains at a standstill, the allegations of gatekeeping and favouritism continue to cast a shadow over the proceedings.
Delegates and party members alike eagerly await a resolution to the impasse, hoping for a fair and inclusive conference that upholds the values and principles of the ANC