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Gauteng ANC conference likely to produce mixed bag of leaders

The African National Conference Gauteng provincial conference, taking place in Benoni, could produce a mixed bag of leaders from contending factions. 

Provincial leaders Lebogang Maile and Panyaza Lesufi are going head to head for the position of provincial chair in what has widely been considered a poorly coordinated conference. 

The Mail & Guardian understands that while some regions are confidently backing one or other of the two leaders, the branches are not convinced that the slate is produced by the leaders. 

In Sedibeng, while the region is said to be in support of Lesufi, outgoing provincial secretary Jacob Khawe, who is contesting on his own for re-election, is likely to take some of the votes from the regional chairperson Thulani Kunene, a running mate of Lesufi who is contesting for the position. 

In Johannesburg, the region is split between Lesufi and Maile. Bandile Masuku has been touted for the position of provincial secretary, to be nominated from the floor by the region. Masuku is on Lesufi’s slate. 

In the West Rand, Lesufi is said to be ahead of Maile, however Kunene does not have much support for the secretary position. TK Nciza or Khawe are understood to be better favoured for the position. 

In Tshwane, Mbali Hlope has been supported by some delegates who are hoping that she will be nominated from the floor for the position of deputy secretary, while Paul Mojapelo, the former Tshwane regional secretary, was also touted as a firm favourite, in Maile’s slate. 

This will be the first conference since the start of the ANC’s conference season that will see a mix of leaders emerge. 

The Mpumalanga conference launched the season with Madla Ndlovu’s slate making a clean sweep in March. 

The next conference took place in eThwekini where Zandile Gumede and her running mates took all the region’s positions. 

In the Eastern Cape, Oscar Mabuyane and his running mates also emerged victorious with only Andile Lungisa elected as an additional member on the provincial executive committee. 

In Limpopo, Stan Mathabatha and his slate had a landslide victory against Dickson Masemola and Soviet Lekganyane. 

The Gauteng conference was scheduled to start on Thursday but was delayed due to disputes emanating from the Ekurhuleni regional conference. 

Five branches which were quarantined from the regional conference were referred to the national executive committee, which met on an urgent basis on Wednesday night and referred the matter back to the province. 

The provincial executive committee met on Thursday morning and decided that the five branches — which produced 19 delegates — would be allowed to participate in the Gauteng conference, however their votes would be quarantined. 

The 19 votes are said to be important to the Lesufi faction to help boost his numbers.

Mzwandile Masina was re-elected as the Ekurhuleni regional chair, receiving 163 votes of the 334 ballots cast, 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.

The conference had a rocky start on Friday night, as delegates thwarted calls by outgoing provincial chair David Makhura for the credentials to be delayed until the organisational and treasurer reports were adopted. 

Those in Maile’s slate claimed that the attempt by Makhura to hold back on credentials was an effort to help Lesufi buy time to negotiate a slate that would render him victorious. 

Makhura is said to be allied with Lesufi.

Security has been intense at the conference. Specialised police units have been conducting searches of all vehicles entering the venue. 

Asked why there was tightened security, Khawe said that this was at the insistence of the hotel in Benoni where the conference was being held. He added that while the ANC had the money to utilise private security, they found that it was more heavy-handed than the police.

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