CONTESTING: ANC North West provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge, left, and provincial chairman Supra Mahumapelo. Picture: SOWETAN

THE murder attempt on African National Congress (ANC) North West provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge on Thursday night signalled an ugly turn of events in the embattled province, amid the possibility of a parallel provincial nominations conference on Friday, in preparation for the ANC’s national elective conference in Mangaung next month.

The SABC reported on Friday morning that unknown gunmen opened fire on Mr Mataboge when he arrived at his home in Mafikeng on Thursday night.

ANC North West spokesman Kenny Morolong said in a statement on Friday that police were "investigating a case of attempted murder".

The incident followed controversy on Thursday after the two opposing ANC factions in the province — one led by Mr Mataboge and another by provincial chairman Supra Mahumapelo — disagreed on the venue for Friday’s provincial nominations 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 has been the chief campaigner for President Jacob Zuma’s second-term bid in Mangaung, while Mr Mataboge has been associated with the group campaigning for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to replace Mr Zuma.

Mr Morolong on Friday called on "members of the public with information to approach the law enforcement agencies", and for police to expedite their investigation "so that culprits of this hideous act are brought to book".