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ANC Eastern Cape conference 90% ready - why it's a crucial battleground

Sep 19, 2017
ANC Eastern Cape conference 90% ready - why it's a crucial battleground

The African National Congress (ANC) in the Eastern Cape on Monday held a Special Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting to assess the state of readiness for its upcoming 8th Provincial Elective Conference, which observers see as a pre-cursor to the ANC National Elective Conference, which will choose President Jacob Zuma's successor.

Current ANC Eastern Cape Provincial Secretary, Oscar Lubabalo Mabuyane, is understood to angling for the ANC Eastern Cape Chairman's position, which is currently occupied by Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle.

If the reports are true, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa needs Mabuyane to win the post - since President Zuma publicly backed Ramaphosa's major rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, along with all the ANC’s national leagues.

It is understood that Masualle is also backing Dlamini-Zuma while Mabuyane is in the Ramaphosa camp. ANC branches in the O.R. Tambo, Sarah Baartman and Alfred Nzo regions have publicly backed Mabuyane, while it is reported that the Nelson Mandela Bay, Joe Gqabi, Chris Hani, Buffalo City and Amathole regions are behind Masualle.

The Eastern Cape is an important battleground in the Zuma succession race as it is the second largest ANC province in the country after KwaZulu-Natal - a solid Zuma bloc at the last two national conferences. The KZN, however, is now riddled by factions as seen by the never-ending political killings.

Thus, whoever wins the Eastern Cape conference goes to the December conference on a higher footing.

"The Special PEC received the preliminary Branch General Meeting(BGM) verification report from the ANC National Audit team. The preliminary report confirmed that we have reached and surpassed the 70% of BGMs, which is the required threshold to convene the Provincial Conference," described  Mabuyane.

"The report on logistics also confirmed that the conference venue, accommodation, transport and other related logistics have been secured and are in place.

"The Special PEC meeting therefore agreed that in the main we are 90% ready to convene the Provincial Conference and therefore we can confidently confirm that the 8th ANC Provincial Conference will definitely sit on 28th of September – 01st October 2017."

Mabuyane said that the Special PEC also received an update on the O.R. Tambo Regional Conference case that was heard recently in the Mthatha High Court, where the court nullified the outcome of the 2015 O.R. Tambo regional elective conference.

"Based on the merits, we are convinced that the applicants have no case but this is just a desperate attempt by a group of disgruntled former leaders.

"We are fully confident that this case will not have any effect on the sitting of the Provincial Conference and that the application will be dismissed when its finally heard," he said.

"The PEC greatly welcomed the official opening of the revamped Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane by the Deputy President, Cde Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Health Cde Aaron Motsoaledi.

"This coupled with the opening of Vuyoi Mbuli Empilisweni HIV/AIDS and Orphans Centre in Ndevana Location is a very important development for the Province and a practical expression of Health care as one of the ANC apex priorities."

He said that the PEC also commended the work of the ANC led government in delivering on commitments to the people of the Eastern Cape.

"The PEC strongly condemned the booing of the ANC Provincial Chairperson, Cde Phumulo Masualle during the opening of the Vuyo Mbuli Empilisweni HIV/AIDS and Orphans Centre at Ndevana," Mabuyane added.

"This conduct is unacceptable and depicts an alien image of political intolerance in the Province, particularly when such is said to be done by ANC members. Cde Phumulo Masualle remains the ANC Provincial Chairperson and Premier of the province and should be accorded the necessary respect."