Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The ANC’s pending elective conference in KwaZulu-Natal — which was scheduled to take place this coming weekend — has been postponed for at least a week.

But not all ANC structures are happy about this, as some believe the party in the province is still threatened by assassinations, general instability, gatekeeping and other factors that would render such a conference "neither credible nor free and fair".

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule announced on Tuesday that the party’s highest decision making body, the national executive committee (NEC), had decided to hold off on the KwaZulu-Natal elective conference.

He said the party had deployed a number of NEC members, led by deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, to visit problematic regions such as Harry Gwala, Moses Mabhida and the Lower South Coast, which are yet to convene regional general meetings in preparation for the provincial conference.

"The other eight have been audited after holding their meetings. We have sent a delegation to these meetings and we expect them to table findings that will determine which way we will go," Magashule said.

He said the killings in KwaZulu-Natal had nothing to do with politics.

Sthembiso Mshengu, spokesperson for the disgruntled ANC members who want the provincial elective conference to be postponed until stability and all other outstanding issues have been dealt with, said they would engage with the deployed NEC members to air their side of the story.

But Sthenjwa Nyawose, an ANC leader from Durban’s Umlazi township, was even more forthright. He said the provincial elective conference could not happen under prevailing conditions.

"Our members are being murdered in broad daylight. There is still instability throughout the organisation in the province. The Moses Mabhida, the Lower South Coast and the Harry Gwala regions have not held their conferences to elect new leadership.

"But people want to rush to the provincial conference. How can you rush to a wedding without having washed yourself and worn your best clothes and expect people to say you look glowing and beautiful? If the elections were to be held under these circumstance we will have no option but to prepare for court action because there would be more problems in the ANC after that conference than ever before," Nyawose said.

Neither Duarte nor Mike Mabuyakhulu, the convener of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial task team, were available for comment.

The latest suspected assassination happened just last weekend in Umzimkhulu — a small town surrounded by farms and rolling hills situated on the foothills of the Drakensberg.

Nkosikhona Maxhakana, a former branch secretary of the ANC in the troubled ward 12, had worked as a community development worker prior to being shot at his home on Saturday afternoon.

He is the eighth ANC political leader to be killed in Umzimkhulu since 2017. The area grabbed headlines after former ANC Youth League secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa was shot and killed. Magaqa had been working as an ANC councillor in Umzimkhulu local municipality when he and two other ANC councillors were ambushed.

Magaqa died a few weeks later but the two other councillors survived.