The Alfred Nzo ANC regional conference kicked off in earnest yesterday despite provincial bosses earlier instructing the region to shelve it.
This was because there had been outstanding disputes and appeals.
However, the Sixolile Mehlomakhulu-led regional executive committee (REC) appealed the decision to the party’s headquarters, Luthuli House.
The conference is likely to set a precedent in the history of the party since its unbanning as the top five positions might not be contested. This is because branches want the top five to serve another term, said regional spokesman Onke Diko.
The ANC region, which covers areas such as KwaBhaca (formerly Mount Frere), Matatiele, Mbizana, and EmaXesibeni (formerly Mount Ayliff) has 105 ANC branches in good standing.
But only 91 passed the audit, confirming that they had met the 70% threshold as required by the ruling party’s constitution.
But the provincial leaders at Calata House, in a letter written by secretary Oscar Mabuyane on Monday, asked this week’s conference to be shelved.
This was after realising “that the report on appeals/disputes remains outstanding and that the PEC deployees together with ANC provincial chairman [Phumulo Masualle] should meet to assess in detail the state of readiness,” read the letter.
The correspondence therefore stated the letter, “serves to communicate to the REC that the proposed date for the Alfred Nzo conference has not been approved and as such the conference is postponed until all the above cited matters have been concluded,” Mabuyane wrote in the letter.
But after the REC successfully appealed the decision, Mabuyane confirmed yesterday that “the decision to shelve the conference has been reviewed and so the Alfred Nzo conference continues as planned”.
Diko said they received a response to the appeal on Tuesday, and “that is why we asked delegates to come and collect their registration tags”.
The records show that of the 91 branches which held successful BGMs, five appealed.
Diko said accordingly if only five branches appealed their BGM outcomes, then it means with “85 branches having met the requirements, more than the 71 branches required to be able to pass the 70% threshold, we had no reason to shelve the conference”.
Several senior ANC leaders attended yesterday’s session including national executive committee members Fikile Xasa, Lungi Gcabashe and provincial deputy secretary Helen Sauls-August.
The conference comes while the ANC is deeply divided in the region between supporters of Mabuyane as possible provincial chairman and Masualle serving a third term as provincial chairman, when the party elects its leaders in September.
The two factions are battling for control of the regions. Alfred Nzo was the first to pronounce its support for Mabuyane.
Mabuyane’s strongest ally in Alfred Nzo is Babalo Madikizela, who will likely retain the regional treasury job without a contest.
However, he might have to relinquish that position to be in charge of the provincial purse in September – but that will be if the Mabuyane slate emerges victorious.
Regional chairman Mehlomakhulu, his deputy Momelezi Mbedla, regional secretary Vikile Mahlelembana, deputy secretary Tsileng Sobuthongo and Madikizela will likely retain their position uncontested if no nominations come from the floor.
“From where we are sitting, there won’t be any contest in this conference. The conference has been opened officially already and we expect credentials to be adopted and nomination of the uncontested top officials to be over and done with by end of business [on Wednesday],” said Diko.
Masualle is enjoying majority support in regions such as Amathole, Buffalo City and Joe Gqabi.