More than 1500 ANC branch delegates will descend on East London next Thursday to elect new provincial leaders over the weekend.
This follows Monday’s decision by members of the extended provincial executive committee (PEC) to give the green light to the Eastern Cape elective conference on September 28 to October 1.
This was after national auditors presented the verification report on branch general meetings across regions in the province during the past two months, a window period which came to an end last Friday.
“The preliminary report confirmed that we have reached and surpassed the 70% of branch general meetings, which is the required threshold to convene the provincial conference,” said provincial ANC secretary Oscar Mabuyane.
“The report on logistics also confirmed that the conference venue, accommodation, transport and other related logistics have been secured and are in place.
“The special PEC meeting therefore agreed that in the main we are 90% ready to convene the provincial conference and therefore we can confidently confirm that the eighth ANC provincial conference will definitely sit from September 28 to October 1, 2017.”
The conference will turn allies into rivals as both Phumulo Masualle and Oscar Mabuyane, who have served as leaders in the same lineup since 2008, are now vying for the same provincial chair.
Based on branch nominations it is impossible to say for sure who will win, but if events at last Sunday’s official opening of the Vuyo Mbuli Empilisweni HIV/Aids centre in Ndevana near King William’s Town are anything to go by, the wheels may turn against Masualle.
At this event Mabuyane’s supporters, in the presence of ANC deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, booed Masualle, the province’s premier, to the embarrassment of all leaders. It is the first time in years that the once-popular member of the SA Communist Party’s central committee has received such a negative response from the masses. He won the 2013 elective conference uncontested.
In a statement issued yesterday, the party confirmed the incident and condemned the behaviour, describing it as alien.
“The PEC strongly condemned the booing of comrade Masualle during the opening of Vuyo Mbuli Empilisweni HIV/Aids and Orphans Centre at Ndevana.
“This conduct is unacceptable and depicts an alien image of political intolerance in the province, particularly when it is said to be done by ANC members,” said Mabuyane.
He said Masualle remains the ANC provincial chairperson and premier of the province and “should be accorded the necessary respect”.
The conference is being planned even while at least two ANC members in the OR Tambo region apply to the Mthatha High Court to nullify the outcomes of the 2015 OR Tambo regional conference.
The applicants are adamant that the credentials which were adopted had abnormalities, as some of the BGMs in the run-up to the conference had been doctored.
Mabuyane said Monday’s special PEC had received an update on the OR Tambo regional conference.
“Based on the merits, we are convinced that the applicants have no case and that this is just a desperate attempt by a group of disgruntled former leaders.
“We are fully confidant that this case will not have any effect on the sitting of the provincial conference and that the application will be dismissed when its finally heard,” he said.