ANC finally meets to decide who goes to Parliament
The ANC national list conference, which finalises who in the party will go to Parliament, has finally been set down for next week following numerous postponements, sources in the ANC have told the Mail & Guardian.
The party will meet on Monday to decide its lists for provincial and national legislatures after the 2014 elections. The list is dependent on the party pulling in enough votes to secure the seats in the various legislatures, and appearing too low down a list can ruin one's prospects in government.
The conference will take place after a meeting of the party's national executive committee (NEC) scheduled for this weekend.
The conference has been postponed twice now, sparking rumours the party was trying to contain internal dissent over the list during crucial campaigning.
It was first postponed after the death of Nelson Mandela on December 5 2012. This was seen as giving the party the breathing space to try to get its house in order.
The party subsequently said the conference would take place around the same time as its NEC meeting in Nelspruit on January 6 and 7.
ANC might drop
But it was again postponed without a date being set down.
The Mail & Guardian reported earlier this month that internal dynamics had put a brake on finalising who would go to Parliament after this year's election.
With polls suggesting that the ANC might drop to well below 60% for the first time, the party needs all hands on deck for a successful election campaign.
A recent Ipsos Markinor poll conducted by the Sunday Times found that only 55% of those who voted for the ANC in 2009, plan to do so again next year.
In this climate leaders are anxious to appear high enough on the list to avoid being left out of Parliament should the ANC get fewer seats.
A senior ANC member in the Western Cape said that, due to the factional battles, it had become the norm in that province for a large number of ANC members to stop campaigning for the party if their names did not appear high enough, or at all, on the national or provincial lists.
However, Lindiwe Zulu, an ANC national working committee member and head of the party's subcommittee on communications, said this could not be a reason to postpone the list conference.
"If there are people who are planning to leave because they are not included in the final list, let them go. We can't keep nursing comrades. If you belong to the ANC, you must belong to the ANC.
"Our programmes can't be shifted because of certain people. We were in a similar situation with Cope [Congress of the People]. What happened? They [ANC members] left to join Cope, but they are now coming back. If there is such a feeling [about people wanting to leave because they are not included on the list], it will be unfortunate," said Zulu.
"If we need to tell people to leave the ANC, we must do so. I am referring to people who attack the ANC publicly and those who keep plotting in corners," she said.
ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza confirmed at the time the party's decision to postpone the national list conference yet again, but dismissed suggestions that this was a delaying tactic to avoid internal ructions.
"I'm sure it's purely logistical," he said. "There are too many things happening at once."