More than five hours after its anticipated starting time, the Free State ANC’s provincial elective conference is yet to begin amid boycotts and threats of more legal action.
The controversial conference, which has been postponed four times, is expected to elect a new provincial leadership. However deputy chairperson Thabo Manyoni, who is contesting the position of chair is believed to be boycotting the event.
Manyoni’s supporters are also boycotting the conference because they are opposed to it being convened under the leadership of the current Provincial Elective Committee (PEC).
They say the mandate of the PEC has expired and are demanding to have a task team appointed to convene the conference.
“We are not going to that conference. In fact to say it’s a conference is a favour, it’s a picnic,” said one Manyoni supporter.
The conference, which was meant to have convened last week, was postponed to today after the High court in Bloemfontein ruled that 29 Branch General meetings (BGM) had traces of irregularities and would have to be rerun.
While the PEC claims all 29 BGMs have since been rerun, boycotting members alleged only seven had been reconvened.
“Out of those seven only one was convened properly, the other six didn’t even have a quorum,” said the Manyoni supporter.
The conference is seen as a proxy battle for presidential hopefuls Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of the national elective conference, which starts on Saturday.
The battle for the top leadership position will be between Manyoni, a Ramaphosa supporter, and current chairperson Ace Magashule who supports Dlamini-Zuma.