ANC congress off to tense start

By ZINE GEORGE and ZINGISA MVUMVU

It is all systems go for the 8th ANC provincial conference in the Eastern Cape and according to ANC provincial chair Phumulo Masualle more than 1 700 delegates will attend.

LIFT-OFF: ANC members Mlibo Qoboshiyane, Nonceba Khontsiwe, Pumza Dantyi, Stella Ndabeni, Oscar Mabuyane and Lindelwa Dunjwa at the accreditation centre yesterday evening ahead of the party’s provincial elective conference Picture: SIBONGILE NGALWA

Addressing the media last night, Masualle said all disputes had been resolved to avoid any “potential” legal challenges later.

In an apparent show of unity, Masualle sat side-by-side with his potential challenger Oscar Mabuyane as the latter declared that all was “all hunky dory”.

However, in what could be described as a calm before the storm, the two are expected to go head-to-head in a highly contested two-horse race for the provincial top post.

Masualle sidestepped the issue of whether or not he and Mabuyane were going to accept nomination, using the procedural excuse that such information would only be known once the electoral commission declared who was nominated for the various top five positions.

“From where I sit I do not even know what will emerge out of that whether or not we will be asked to indicate whether we are available or not,” said Masualle.

Earlier hundreds of delegates were seen loitering in front of the East London City Hall on Oxford Street awaiting a directive from the provincial executive committee (PEC) to go and register at the Orient Theatre. The PEC was locked in a long meeting ironing out issues such as the final audit report.

ANC spokesman Mlibo Qoboshiyane confirmed yesterday that the meeting also discussed determination on the number of delegates for the leagues and regional executives, such that they constituted 10% of the total number of delegates. Of the 1700 delegates, Mabuyane said last night, 170 were from the youth and women’s leagues.

The issue of the leagues and RECs is a highly contested one as the eight regions have sent six delegates each while the leagues have elected 25 delegates each.

Qoboshiyane said among the key issues discussed at yesterday’s meeting was a report on disputes tabled to the PEC by national executive committee (NEC) deployees led by ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa.

There was mistrust already between supporters of the rival factions regarding the number of delegates who qualified to take part in the conference.

Insiders claimed that the initial credentials report revealed that 1500 and not the expected 1200 branch delegates made it to the list.

“We want to know where did they get this extra 300? They are inflating numbers to favour their faction,” one senior ANC leader said.

There were also unverified claims on social media that a Zwelitsha ANC member who was buried last night was still listed as a delegate even though his Khaya Mabece branch did not convene any successful branch general meeting (BGM).

Another social media claim was that wards 5 and 23 in Mhlontlo, which allegedly never held their BGMs, were included in the list.

But Masualle and Mabuyane dismissed these claims as mere rumours and far from the truth

Today’s programme shows that once the credentials are adopted, Masualle will table his political report, the Dr W B Rubusana regional chairman will welcome delegates and Mabuyane and provincial treasurer Thandiswa Marawu will table their secretariat and financial reports. —

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