OPPOSING factions in the African National Congress (ANC) in North West are on Friday expected to hold parallel nomination conferences, in a move that is likely to spark controversy as the ANC prepares for its national elective conference in Mangaung in less than three weeks.
This comes amid last-minute attempts by ANC provincial structures to beat today’s deadline for nominations, after an indication that the process was in disarray in most provinces as it failed to take off at branch level.
The nomination conference was a platform for branches in the province to consolidate their preferred list of candidates for positions for the top six national officials of the ANC, as well as the 80 national executive committee positions.
The North West will be taking 234 voting delegates to Mangaung.
Leaders of the opposing factions in North West — provincial chairman Supra Mahumapelo and provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge — on Friday disagreed about the venue for the conference. The group led by Mr Mahumapelo preferred a hall at Hartbeespoort Dam, while those supporting Mr Mataboge were pushing for the gathering to be held at the Civic Centre in Mafikeng.
Mr Mahumapelo had been the chief campaigner for President Jacob Zuma’s second-term bid in Mangaung, while Mr Mataboge had been associated with the group campaigning for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Mr Zuma. It was expected that both the opposing factions would nominate ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to retain his position.
North West ANC spokesman Kenny Morolong said yesterday a meeting of the provincial executive committee had agreed on the Hartbeespoort Dam venue. However, a close aide of Mr Mataboge disputed the claim.
Mr Mantashe said on Friday there were no two venues for the conference, adding that he was only aware that the nominations conference would be in Mafikeng. This appeared to give an early advantage to the group led by Mr Mataboge.
Mafikeng is in the Ngaka Modiri Molema region in North West — seen to be Mr Mataboge’s stronghold. Hartebeespoort Dam was in North West’s biggest region, Bojanala, where Mr Mahumapelo enjoyed popular support.
Those supporting Mr Mahumapelo complained that the Civic Centre in Mafikeng was not tightly secured and suggested that people who were not genuine delegates might be able to gain entry to the venue because of that.
The last time the ANC in North West had held a gathering at the Civic Centre — prior to the June national policy conference of the ANC — those attending the meeting took a decision to suspend Mr Mahumapelo and five others, including Mr Morolong. The decision was later overturned by Luthuli House.
The ANC in North West was also occupied with the latest developments in the Tlokwe local municipality of the Kenneth Kaunda region, where an ANC mayor was removed last week through a vote of no confidence, due to factional infighting in the region.
This resulted in the opposition Democratic Alliance taking over the mayoral position.
While the provincial executive committee wants the mayor, Maphetle Maphetle, to be reinstated, about 19 ward councillors who had supported his removal had threatened to resign if Mr Maphetle came back, setting up possibilities for a dramatic by-election process.