The ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal elective conference has been postponed indefinitely as the newly appointed provincial interim committee struggles to instil discipline in the two factions.

In January, the ANC national executive committee suspended the provincial executive committee after a court nullified the November 2015 provincial elective conference.

A provincial interim committee — headed by Mike Mabuyakhulu as the convenor and co-ordinated by Sihle Zikalala — was appointed.

The committee, which drew members from both factions, was tasked with preparing ANC structures for a fresh elective conference within three months. But the divisions remained, with one faction supporting Cyril Ramaphosa and the other firmly behind Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Jacob Zuma.

The provincial interim committee "has resolved that the provincial conference cannot be held in April [as scheduled]. If the regional conferences were to be held they can only be held in May, later or after the general elections next year.

"We are going to make recommendations to the ANC leadership and they will make their own assessments on when these conferences could be held," Mabuyakhulu said.

Analysts said the postponement was a significant blow to the Zikalala camp, whose faction was still dominant and controlled most of the branches and regions. The faction also controls the provincial government and most of the ANC-run municipalities in the province.

"They control everything from the provincial government to the local municipalities," analyst Xolani Dube said. "Their position allows them to decide who gets which tenders, who is employed in which position."

Divisions between the two sides were laid bare on Monday afternoon in Howick, when skirmishes between the two factions led to a standoff and threats of violence. Several rounds of ammunition were fired. This happened during the Moses Mabhida regional consultative meeting, which was held to assess the region’s readiness to send delegates to the provincial elective conference.