The elective conference of the volatile Harry Gwala region of the ANC has been postponed to after the December national conference to avert further bloodshed and division.

Sindiso Magaqa, the former ANC Youth League secretary-general, became the fifth councillor to be killed in the region. He died in hospital two weeks ago. He and two other councillors were ambushed in Umzimkhulu in July this year.

The Harry Gwala ANC regional elective conference was supposed to take place by October, but on Tuesday, ANC provincial spokesman Mdumiseni Ntuli said it had been postponed indefinitely.

"A few days ago, we received a letter from the secretary-general [Gwede Mantashe] telling us all conferences which had not taken place by September 30 must be postponed until after the December national conference. We fully support that decision and we think it was appropriate in the case of Harry Gwala region, where tension and mistrust … is very high," Ntuli said.

A regional leader, who attended the meeting and asked not to be named, said some branches questioned the provincial leadership’s legitimacy and ability to solve the party’s problems, given that it has legal and political troubles of its own.

"Some party members stated that it would be better to wait for the national executive committee [NEC] to take a decision first before engaging the provincial leadership to solve the Harry Gwala problems. What if [it] appoints a task team to run the province and we have to start the process all over again?"

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