ANC eThekwini: Disputes continue to cloud conference

ANC eThekwini: Disputes continue to cloud conference

On the first day on Saturday, the event started very late as two main factions, that of former mayor Zandile Gumede and council speaker Thabani Nyawose locked horns over voting rights.

Delegates are yet to sit and get down to work on the second day at the ANC eThekwini regional conference, as disputes over credentials rages on.

Members of the ANC NEC with a vested interest in the outcome of the conference, such as disgraced former health minister Zweli Mkhize and suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule were reportedly in Durban this weekend.

The dispute was on whether members of the regional task team should be given voting status or not. Some delegates argued that a precedent was set during the Mpumalanga conference, where provincial task teams members voted.

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee (PEC) took a decision to not allow task team members to vote at regional conferences, said eThekwini region convenor Kwazi Mshengu.

“It took us from 11pm to 4am today discussing credentials, as we do not want to see the conference collapse.

“There has been about seven regional conferences in the province already, and task teams never voted in those,” Mshengu told the SABC.

There was no directive from Luthuli House as to how conferences should proceed, and provinces seem to decide separately on the fate of the task teams.

The last provincial conference, said Mshengu, was led by a task team headed by Mike Mabuyakhulu, and the task team members did not vote.

“Each and every province does what is sees as best. The national executive knew that in KwaZulu-Natal, task teams are not allowed to vote.

“There is Mpumalanga for instance where task teams were allowed to vote…but there is no national decision that says task teams should or should not vote.”

Regional task teams were appointed by the PEC after the disbandment of regions such as eThekwini when their term of offices ended.

It is not clear how the conference will proceed, or if it will sit and elect new leaders on Sunday. The 400 delegates were behind closed doors in plenary in the afternoon to resolve the impasse.

eThekwini is the biggest ANC region in the country in terms of membership and branches, with 111 branches and over 100 000 members.

The outcome of the contestation between Gumede and Nyawose will set the tone for the upcoming provincial conference.

Corruption-accused Gumede, who is absent at the conference, is aligned to the RET while Nyawose is supported by Premier Sihle Zikalala.

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