Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

As 60% of ANC branches nationally finalise their nominations for the next party president, the party’s top brass plan to meet this weekend to decide on the validity of its Eastern Cape conference.

A special national executive committee (NEC) meeting will be held from November 11 to 13 to discuss preparations for the national conference, is now a little more than a month away.

Among the items on the agenda is the legitimacy of the provincial leadership elected in the Eastern Cape in September. It supports Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over from ANC president Jacob Zuma. A complaint was brought to the party’s national leaders by the losing faction at the conference, with a request for them to declare the conference illegal and to call for a rerun.

But both the provincial and national party leadership said that even if the conference was nullified, it would not have a huge effect on the national conference in December.

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said 60% of branches in good standing nationally had concluded their general meetings to nominate candidates.

It is a close race between Ramaphosa and NEC member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The September gathering turned violent and resulted in a group of delegates walking out.

Kodwa said there was "very little space" for the provincial executive committees to run branch meetings which are tasked with nominating candidates, therefore the effect of nullifying the Eastern Cape conference would be minimal.

The view was echoed by newly elected ANC Eastern Cape secretary Lulama Ngcukaitobi, who said he was not worried about his and his leadership’s election being set aside as this would have little impact on the national conference.

He also said he was confident that the gathering would be endorsed by the NEC.

"Branches are deciding on nominations and their choices will not change," he said.

The conference in September pronounced its preference for Ramaphosa to become the president of the ANC.

Ngcukaitobi said 60% of the branches in the province had already concluded their branch general meetings.

The Eastern Cape will bring the third-largest delegation to the conference, with 648 delegates after KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

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