Another raucus conference

Leadership elections at the ANC’s provincial congress in the North West province underscore the fact that President Thabo Mbeki is not a spent force in the party.

The Mbeki camp won the top five positions, beating candidates aligned with ANC president Jacob Zuma by an average margin of 200 votes for each post.

The voting at the congress also indicates that the North West is likely to have an almost entirely new provincial government after next year’s election, as Premier Edna Molewa and most of her ministers did not make it on to the provincial executive committee.

The relatively unknown North West legislature chief whip, Nono Maloyi, was elected party chair, while her deputy is former health minister Molefi Sefularo. Supra Mahumapelo was elected for a second term as provincial secretary, while social development minister Nikiwe Mangqo was elected deputy secretary and Rebecca Kasienyan treasurer.

The congress was marred by violent disruptions after about 400 people were told they were not accredited as delegates and were locked out of the venue at Sun City.

Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi said the ugly scenes at the congress and at the recent ANC Youth League conference in Bloemfontein were signs of instability in the party.

They also indicated that the run-up to next year’s general elections would be marked by proxy battles.

As in Bloemfontein there were allegations that some leaders at the Sun City congress bought votes.

One of those excluded from the conference, Kenny Morolong, complained of voting irregularities and insisted that the outcome of the leadership race would have been different if he and others had been admitted.

He said provincial leaders allowed delegates who did not represent branches to attend.

Morolong was one of seven people arrested for disrupting the conference. They were later released.

Mahumapelo campaigned at the Polokwane conference for Mbeki to retain his leadership of the ANC and was opposed by the Zuma camp and particularly the MK Veterans’ Association.

But, as a former student activist and ANC Youth League leader, he commands the support of the league and other party structures in the province.

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