Less than two weeks after the ANC’s eThekwini region elected a new leadership, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe nullified the conference amidst widespread allegations of branch manipulation and a cash for votes scandal.
This development is a serious blow to an already divided region where tensions and political divisions remain high.
Two regional leaders confirmed to the M&G that Gwede Mantashe has called for a rerun of the conference.
On Saturday Mantashe apparently met with provincial leaders where reported discrepancies were discussed and a decision to re-hold the conference was taken.
It has emerged that the the outcomes of at least three branch meetings were manipulated to only include delegates who were aligned to one faction within the region.
“We are aware of the decision and we are awaiting the official communication from the Provincial Executive Committee,” said one regional leader.
At the conference held two weeks ago, James Nxumalo, the incumbent mayor and SACP provincial chairperson, defeated the region’s former treasurer Zandile Gumede in a contest riddled with accusations of “cash-for-votes”, intimidation and violence.
The conference was delayed at least three times before it went ahead as a result of allegations the same allegations.
Within ANC factional politics, Nxumalo enjoyed the endorsement of incumbent provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu alongside KZN ANC heavyweight and deputy minister of forestry, fisheries and agriculture Bheki Cele. His win by far empowered that slate for their own national ambitions within the ANC.
It appears that provincial leaders who were aligned to the slate who lost pushed for the invalidation of the conference.
ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said he was “not aware” of the decision to invalidate the conference.
“The matter is still with SG and you can check with his office,” he said.
Mantashe would not confirm nor deny the story.
“I don’t put my face to stories of sources,” he said.