ANC members sing songs at the opening of the Greater KwaDukuza ANC regional conference near Durban in this May 05, 2018 file photo. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/RAJESH JANTILAL
ANC members sing songs at the opening of the Greater KwaDukuza ANC regional conference near Durban in this May 05, 2018 file photo. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/RAJESH JANTILAL

Four more ANC regions in KwaZulu-Natal are gearing up for their elective conferences following the hassle-free two-day elective conference in the greater KwaDukuza region last weekend.

The ANC in the province announced in a statement on Thursday that Emalahleni‚ Far North‚ Musa Dladla and Inkosi Bhambatha regions had successfully convened their branch general meetings and met the 70% threshold required to convene their regional conferences from Friday to Sunday to elect new leadership.

Greater KwaDukuza was the first region to hold its elective conference last weekend since Cyril Ramaphosa was elected ANC president. The province has been beset by infighting between pro-Ramaphosa supporters and those who support former ANC president Jacob Zuma.

At the heart of the infighting are factions that existed before the party’s elective conference‚ which resulted in disputes being raised by some branches in the province. There were even suggestions by pro-Ramaphosa supporters for the provincial elective conference — which is expected to take place before the end of May — to be postponed until after next year’s general elections.

But ANC national executive member Edna Molewa‚ who was deployed to oversee the province‚ told the media last weekend that the ANC did not believe the disputes raised by some branches were sufficient to warrant the postponement of the provincial elective conference. She said disputes were normal and were similar to those raised before the party’s national elective conference in December.

Four regions have been identified by the party as problematic — eThekwini‚ Harry Gwala‚ Lower South Coast and Moses Mabhida — because of their failure to deal with infighting.

The party said the process leading up to the elective conferences had gone smoothly and that it was confident the conferences would also proceed as planned‚ characterised by "frank and robust debates". It said the conferences would not only elect new leadership but would also focus on crafting a plan to implement resolutions adopted at the party’s 54th national elective conference held in Nasrec‚ Johannesburg‚ in December.

"ANC conferences are not only about electing leaders but focus more on issues. We have a big task as ANC members to ensure all resolutions of the 54th national conference are implemented with speed. Therefore, it is imperative for ANC members to engage properly‚" said provincial task-team co-ordinator Sihle Zikalala.

He added that the conference would also focus on unity and cohesion.

"We’re satisfied with the work done by the task-teams deployed in Emalahleni and Far North regions. These regions had encountered challenges that resulted in the provincial task-teams deployed to assist them‚" said Zikalala.

The provincial executive committee (PEC)‚ he said‚ had disbanded the Emalahleni region in 2016 after it was beset by divisions. "Now we’re very happy about unity in the region‚ hence the convening of the conference. In Far North‚ certain powers were withdrawn by the PEC due to disunity. We also sent the task-team, comprising highly experienced members to run the affairs of that region‚" said Zikalala.

Zikalala‚ who supported Nkosazana Dlamni-Zuma ahead of Nasrec‚ has emerged as the front runner to win the ANC provincial chairmanship. The pro-Ramaphosa faction is believed to support former eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo to rival Zikalala at the conference.