ANC officials in Gauteng are expected to meet national executive committee (NEC) members to finalise outstanding disputes emanating from the Tshwane and Ekurhuleni regional conferences that took place earlier this month.
ANC provincial secretary Jacob Khawe confirmed that the provincial leaders had met party officials last week to discuss the Ekurhuleni conference, which was marred by violence and chaos.
People in the ANC national working committee (NWC) had earlier said that national chairperson Gwede Mantashe had described the Ekurhuleni event as shambolic and some committee members had called for it to be rerun. The NWC is said to have recommended that the matter be discussed at the next NEC meeting.
At least 19 votes were quarantined from the regional conference after the process of verifying credentials turned chaotic, with five branches represented by 19 voting delegates disputed.
Mzwandile Masina was re-elected as the Ekurhuleni regional chair, receiving 163 votes of the 334 ballots cast and beating Doctor Xhakaza who received 151 votes. With only 12 votes between them, Masina was provisionally elected as the chairperson, although some ANC members said his announcement as the winner was premature.
Divisions also played out during the conference in Tshwane, the second largest ANC region in Gauteng. Disgruntled members attempted to collapse the meeting, claiming that branch disputes had not been attended to and that the conference was not properly constituted.
News outlet EWN reported that three members reported to ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile that at least 32 branches did not properly constitute their general meetings. They also claimed that numerous other branches were left out of processes, despite having successfully tabled their issues before the provincial dispute committee.
Khawe said the Gauteng provincial executive committee (PEC) condemned the bad behaviour of some of its members at the two conferences.
“We came to the conclusion that [the way] to prevent that, was to firstly process all the
disputes in a proper manner, treat organisational members equally so that there are no members who feel undermined [and that] their rights to participate are being suppressed,” he said.
“Equally, communicate the decisions from a dispute point of view and the appeals to ensure that you don’t communicate in the conference because at that time, people have made their minds that they are delegates and suddenly you give them your rulings that, no you’re not a delegate or change of delegates and so on.”
Khawe said the PEC had held discussions with the disputes appeals committees on Monday to ensure that, by Wednesday, all conflicts were resolved and to avoid disruptions.
He added that another problem was political leaders who mobilised members to do their bidding, accusing those standing for positions of creating “problems in the interest of influencing members”.
“We do note, however, that there are several branches that there are issues that have to be resolved before we enter the provincial conference and it is against that background that we welcome the meeting with officials that we had and a follow-up meeting which will be this afternoon with the national team to really assess the progress as it relates to quarantine branches in Ekurhulenii and two branches that had to rerun in Tshwane,” Khawe said.
“Basically, we have about nine branches that we have to deal with in a day or two. Once we clean the credentials the conference moves smoothly.”
He added that the West Rand region had failed to hold its conference, having only held 63% of its branch general meetings against the required 70% threshold, and was unlikely to do so before the provincial elections.
“This is as it relates to the election of the regional leadership. In terms of political preparations, they are today convening the regional general council and they will be preparing [for] the conference and their branches are ready to participate with full status in the conference,” Khawe said.
Some 1 033 branch delegates are expected to have voting rights in the provincial conference set to start on Thursday, with 105 additional votes from the regional executive committees and the leagues.
The conference will start on a political note, with a panel discussion on the ANC’s strategy and tactics, as well as internal relations, Khawe said.
On Friday, there will be closed meetings where credentials as well as political, treasury and organisational reports will be adopted. On Saturday Gauteng leaders will go into commissions and the elections of PEC officials.
“We are also doing something unique by delegating it to 67 years of the Freedom Charter and in this regard, we have invited the president not to close the conference, but rather to speak on the Freedom Charter and the renewal of the organisation and that will be the end of the conference,” Khawe said.