THE head office of the ANC at Luthuli House in Johannesburg has directed the ANC in Gauteng to look for an earlier date to host its eagerly awaited elective provincial conference, which was initially mooted for June.
Luthuli House’s issue with the June date is that the entire party should by then have concluded all its regional, provincial conferences and provincial general councils in preparation for the policy conference (which is also known as the national general council).
Early this month, the ANC in Gauteng wrote to Luthuli House asking for the green light to have its provincial conference in June.
However, in a response sent back to Gauteng general secretary Jacob Khawe on Monday this week, the provincial secretary of the ANC in Gauteng, acting ANC secretary-general Paul Mashatile, who is holding the fort while Jessie Duarte is on sick leave, told the province that June was not ideal.
“The ANC had determined a deadline for all outstanding regional and provincial conferences to be finalised by the end of March. This matter has been considered for provinces that are due for conferences in less than a year. It is my view that this year is going to be a busy year, with a policy conference being scheduled for the period June/July this year. Provinces and regions have their role cut out for them to ensure that due processes are complied with.
“Your schedule for the provincial conference coincides with the period set aside for the policy conference. I therefore urge the province to consider convening the provincial conference in May this year. I hope you will consider this positively,” Mashatile wrote in his response to Khawe.
Speaking to Independent Media on Wednesday about the letter from Mashatile, Khawe said they would look for new dates.
“The PEC (provincial executive committee) will consider the letter from the acting secretary general. This we view as being to improve coordination and prepare for the National Policy Conference. The PEC will adopt new dates for conferences to ensure that we are in line with national priorities," Khawe told Independent Media.
The Gauteng provincial conference is expected to pit incumbent chair and provincial premier, David Makhura, against his party deputy and Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi.
Lesufi is believed to have the backing of the likes of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile, and Mzwandile Masina, the chairperson of the Ekurhuleni region.
In the wake of Mashatile's directive to the ANC in Gauteng, the KwaZulu-Natal ANC is also set to seek an alternative and earlier date as it was also planning to have its provincial conference in June this year. This would have been after convening the six outstanding regional conferences, which include the eThekwini region and Musa Dladla (King Cetshwayo) district.
Provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said they hadn’t started discussing new dates, but that would probably be on the agenda of the provincial working committee (PWC) on Monday next week.
In KZN, preliminary slates currently being circulated by lobbyists show that the incumbent provincial premier and chairperson, Sihle Zikalala, will either face off with Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the current provincial treasurer and MEC for finance, or Mxolisi Kaunda, a PEC member who is also the mayor of eThekwini metro, or Peggy Nkonyeni, the current MEC for transport.
Other provinces with outstanding elective conferences include the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, North West and the Free State. In the Eastern Cape, Oscar Mabuyane, the current premier and chairperson who is a Cyril Ramaphosa loyalist, is set to face Lubabalo Madikizela, a known confidant of ANC NEC member and former minister of health, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
In the Free State, Mxolisi Dukwana, a Ramaphosa loyalist, is set to contest former provincial chairperson Sam Mashinini, who is backed by the RET faction in the province.