Oscar Mabuyane will live to fight another day as ANC Eastern Cape chairman, after attempts to remove him at the governing party’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting failed.
For now Mabuyane will continue to lead the province while a seven-member task team – which the officials have yet to appoint – will descend on the province over the next two weeks for yet another fact-finding mission on the events leading to the election of the new provincial executive committee last month.
This team will then report to the NEC before a final decision is taken on whether the provincial executive committee (PEC) remains in office or is disbanded.
Mabuyane confirmed to the Dispatch yesterday that he was still at the helm. “All I can say is that there is an elected executive in the province and it has not been disbanded,” said Mabuyane.
The seven-member team will consist of four NEC members and three others for technical support.
“They are to listen to the appeal and investigate all allegations on the disruption and violence in the conference and prepare the report for the NEC,” added Mabuyane.
The NEC took the decision to send the new task team after day-and-night long deliberations by both the national working committee (NWC) and the former. Drama began on Friday when the NWC report was tabled to the NEC by secretary-general Gwede Mantashe on Saturday.
The NWC is smaller but is an influential structure. It cannot take decisions, only recommend to the NEC – hence their report had to be tabled before the 80-member NEC.
But that report was rejected when NEC members complained that it lacked detail on why the controversial elective meeting held at the East London ICC turned violent.
The NWC had to meet again on Sunday morning to prepare a new report for the NEC. Then the NEC met yesterday once again, and after hours of debating both for and against Mabuyane, resolved to let the disputed PEC continue to lead party structures in the province while the task team did its work.
Meanwhile the task team will visit all regions that filed disputes and make recommendations to the NEC, which will be meeting at the end of this month.
At the centre of this running battle is a letter former provincial ANC chairman Phumulo Masualle wrote a day after Mabuyane was elected.
In it he challenges the legitimacy of the credentials for the conference.
This was after his supporters, who wanted him to serve a third term as ANC chairman, left the conference venue after a fight involving the throwing of chairs broke out between the rival factions.
Several meetings have been held in Johannesburg and Cape Town and the ANC’s entire top six has visited regions in the Eastern Cape.
But these have failed to yield a final resolution on the matter.
Masualle and his grouping are aligned to the campaign for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become the next ANC president.