Last-minute bid to unite Mabuyane and Madikizela factions at ANC conference fails

Attempts by labour federation Cosatu and the South African Communist Party (SACP) to bring the lobby groups for Oscar Mabuyane and Babalo Madikizela to the negotiating table at the ANC’s Eastern Cape election conference have failed. 

Mabuyane, Madikizela and Mlibo Qoboshiyane are vying for the position of ANC Eastern Cape chairperson.

Three members of the provincial task team representing the alliance made a proposal to bring together the Mabuyane and Madikizela factions ahead of the conference, but were ignored, sources said.

They said SACP Eastern Cape chairperson Xolile Nqatha, SACP leader Mncedisi Nontsele and Cosatu provincial secretary Xolani Malamlela led the call for a united slate. 

The Madikizela camp has maintained that it was the Mabuyane camp that approached the group proposing a possible consolidation of the different factions.

Only Mabuyane gave them an audience during a meeting on Friday, and is said to have asked for secretaries in the regions to deliberate on whether a compromise could be reached between the two slates.

But sources told the Mail & Guardian that after Mabuyane’s request, the regional secretaries of Chris Hani, OR Tambo, WD Rubusana and Sarah Baartman and the Joe Gqabi regional chair refused to listen. 

“Almost immediately all the chairpersons and secretaries that we are working with, we immediately met and, no, we are not going to entertain any negotiations,” one regional leader said. 

All this is happening as threats emerge of possible litigation. Five disgruntled ANC members in the Dr WD Rubusana region believe there were irregularities in processes leading up to the conference.

One of them, Ondela Sokomani, insists that the aim is not to disrupt the conference but rather to get clarity and prevent any future litigation. He told M&G the court should be able to interpret its April judgment in the matter.

Sokomani succeeded in preventing the region from going to the conference after the provincial executive committee disbanded branches in 12 wards.

In the court application, Sokomani argued that the decision to dissolve the branch executive committees was procedurally unfair and therefore unlawful, because the branches and regions were neither notified of the impending decision, nor consulted before it occurred.

He also argued that if delegates who had been elected at properly constituted branch general meetings were denied participation in a conference, any decision to hold a conference was invalid and the outcomes of such a conference invalid, null and void.

East London high court Judge Nozuko Mjali agreed, ruling that the regional conference scheduled for 8 April be interdicted, pending the finalisation of all internal appeals and compliance.

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa is a political journalist with a keen interest in local government.

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