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Road to Mangaung: The branch that pulled off a quorum

Rapule Tabane

They had to haul some members out of shebeens at an ANC meeting in Khutsong, but at least they got to nominate their candidates.

ANC branch meetings are turning out to be quite a large pothole in the road to the party’s national conference. (Madelene Cronjé, M&G)

This meeting was held in Khutsong township on the West Rand. It was initially scheduled for 2pm, but by 8pm the meeting had still not started because there was no quorum.

Members of the branch come from both an informal settlement and the old township, constituted of apartheid era four-room houses.

The meeting was taking place in a huge shack said to belong to the ANC in the informal settlement. At about 5pm members were sent out to fetch others because they were about 40 people short of the quorum of 123 people.

There were allegations that a faction of the branch had told people to stay away from the meeting to frustrate the process. But by 9pm the numbers added up and the meeting could commence.

Members had been fetched from their homes, taxi ranks and drinking holes to sign the attendance register. Some did not stay for the duration of the meeting.

In this branch all factions agreed on Kgalema Motlanthe as their presidential candidate. Their choice for deputy – African Union Commissioner Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – was interesting, because hers was not a name commonly bandied about in the media.

They also had an unfamiliar but respected choice for position of national chair – new Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor. They opted to keep Gwede Mantashe as the ­secretary general and Thandi Modise as his deputy. Their candidate for treasurer was ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile.

What was interesting was their choice of a 50-50 gender balance in the top six, which currently has two women and four men. The national ANC Women’s League argued very strongly at Polokwane against a 50-50 balance in the top six, saying it was not necessary as long as there was a balance in the national executive committee.

This meeting was one of few that succeeded – the majority in the township had to be postponed because of the lack of a quorum or infighting among the branch leaders.


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