The ANC’s Amathole region has expressed confidence in the leadership of its provincial chairman, Phumulo Masualle, and wants him to stay for a third term after the provincial conference in July.
In an expansive statement just before the marathon 28-hour conference came to an end, delegates declared: “We believe that the chairmanship of Phumulo Masualle (and deputy chairman Sakhumzi Somyo) is on a good course in turning our province and region for the better. Their efforts are fully aligned to our broad vision.
“We believe that it is only wise that we give them another opportunity in the ANC as an attempt to deepen, consolidate and advance our struggle of truly radically transforming our economy and institutions in the province.”
Re-elected regional secretary Teris Ntuthu told the Daily Dispatch it was “no longer just my personal view that he must be given another opportunity” but it was clear that the conference, too, believed in Masualle’s leadership.
Ntuthu, after his slate’s sweeping victory in yesterday’s elections against former Fifa referee Ace Ncobo’s slate, confirmed Masualle was their man.
The triumphant Ntuthu said Masualle – who observed the conference in person almost in its entirety – was a “unifier”, and hence their choice.
Ntuthu said: “I appreciate and believe in the leadership style of comrade Masualle, more so on unity because he is a unifier.”
The 35-year-old Ntuthu’s time in the office of regional secretary was extended for three more years with an overwhelming mandate of 173 votes to rival Ndoda Ntlikithi’s 88.
The same pattern of dominance followed everyone in his group, with Eastern Cape Liquor Board chief executive KC Maneli scooping 173 votes to Ncobo’s 90 for the much sought-after position of Amathole chairman.
The rest of the region’s top five officials include Sheila Xego as Maneli’s deputy, while Zibuthe Mnqwazi will be Ntuthu’s deputy.
Onke Mgunculu was elected to the position of treasurer. All three also won with convincing margins.
Speaking to the Dispatch yesterday, an upbeat Ncobo said the bruising defeat was not a red card to his political career.
“I refuse to be called a loser because I did not lose anything,” he said jovially, adding he accepted the election outcome as the branch members had spoken and made their choice.
Pressed on what the defeat meant for his continued participation in politics, Ncobo said he would continue working from his branch.
“I am the secretary of Govan Mbeki branch in Mbhashe and nothing has changed – the delegates of the regional conference spoke and we are disciplined enough to accept that.”
On why he had declined the offer to be included in the additional members list?
“My decision was not meant to shun the elected leadership but I did not want to contaminate that space when delegates clearly made their choice.”
Both slates immediately smoked the peace pipe yesterday, with Ncobo given the opportunity to introduce new chairman Maneli as he was to make his welcoming address.
Ntuthu said among his leadership collective’s first tasks was to grow party membership in the region from the current 21770 as of last November.
In fact, ANC president Jacob Zuma, who spoke at the conference on Sunday evening, had applauded the region for its growing membership.
Amathole’s membership has seen an unprecedented increase in the past five years.
From 13260 in 2014, it grew by more than 8000 last year, a trend Zuma was pleased with. — firstname.lastname@example.org