/ 17 December 2022

Pule Mabe says ANC conference will not collapse

Pule Mabe 7541
Pule Mabe address media at Nasrec where the ANC 55th Elective Conference is held. Photo: Delwyn Verasamy

The ANC leadership says it is confident that its national elective conference taking place at Nasrec in Johannesburg will not collapse despite disruptions by unruly delegates and lengthy delays in accreditation.

By Saturday morning an undisclosed number of the nearly 4 500 delegates attending the 55th national conference had not yet been accredited, but the party leadership had decided to continue the programme to stay on track.

The organisational report by deputy president David Mabuza had been delivered and was due to be followed by the financial report by treasurer general Paul Mashatile, along with  reports by the ANC integrity commission and proposed constitutional amendments.

Outgoing ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the organisers had decided to push ahead with the presentation of reports while credentials were resolved, so that “we will be able to conclude the business of conference” by Tuesday as planned.

Mabe said after disruptions by KwaZulu-Natal delegates on Friday night as President Cyril Ramaphosa presented his political report, the provincial leadership had intervened and reasoned with them.

Mabe said a collapse of the conference would have been an “indictment” on the ANC  which had a “moral and political duty to ensure that this conference succeeds”.

Mabe said the party had drawn lessons from provincial conferences — including Gauteng — which had to be held over two legs after halting proceedings until credentials had been adopted. “We have learned from that experience,” he said.

But, Mabe added, none of the key conference decisions — including elections and policy formulations — would be taken until all the delegates had been accredited and credentials adopted.

“Those delegates who have not been accredited yet are not aggrieved. They are waiting their turn to be accredited,” Mabe said. “No decision will be taken without credentials being confirmed. By the time decisions are taken, they will all be in.”

Sources in ANC regions said Limpopo was one of the provinces lagging the most on accreditation, with delays worsened by the strict verification procedures contained in the party’s new membership system.

Capturing, which was meant to have taken place at provincial level, had to be repeated on the arrival of the delegates. The introduction of stage six load-shedding by Eskom also led to delays.

Mabe said nominations for the ANC’s top six leaders were set to take place on Saturday once the closed sessions at which reports were being discussed were concluded.