Delegates at ANC ECape conference cry foul

Supporters of provincial chair Phumulo Masualle clash with those of secretary Oscar Mabuyane

Masualle supporters disrupt first day of ANC Eastern Cape conference

East London - Security officials at the ANC's Eastern Cape elective conference were unable to stop supporters of outgoing chair Phumulo Masualle from forcing their way into the venue on Friday night.Delegates dressed in white T shirts bearing the face of Oliver Tambo sang "we are strong" as they gained entry to the plenary hall at the International Convention Centre.

One ANC member told News24 that they planned to shut down the conference if they were not allowed to be part of the delegation.

"We are going inside whether they like it or not," the member said.

Police were then called to defuse the situation.

Political report Shortly before the interruption, Masualle had sung his own praises during his political report, saying that under his stewardship the provincial leadership had become the cause of envy in the party, as it had displayed unity.

"It's been truly an honour to have been afforded an opportunity to serve the organisation for this duration that has since come to an end. The collective I had the privilege to lead has sought to give their best to the assignment that was given. We did so as a united team until the end."

Masualle said the province needed to maintain unity like never before. He said without fail his provincial executive tried to inculcate the culture of unity right across the organisation.

The SACP's Eastern Cape secretary, Xolile Nqatha, however predicted that the province would head to the national conference more divided than before, because of the contestation between Masualle and his secretary Oscar Mabuyane.

"The ideal situation would have been continuity‚ which means retaining the current leadership as is‚ especially chair and secretary‚ which we thought was in the interest of the unity of the ANC and the alliance in the province. That is the view of the SACP," Nqatha said.

Nqatha added that the SACP was of the view that the province would be weaker going forward‚ especially towards the national elective conference in December.

ANC facing deepest crisis post 1994 Masualle advised delegates to use the provincial elective conference strategically as the party was facing its deepest crisis post 1994. Addressing the current problems faced by the provincial ANC Youth League, Masualle said its disbandment led to confusion and uncertainty in the province.

"They say an organisation that is dying, starts with the killing of the youth wing. By not caring for the youth, we make the tragedy of not minding the future. We should as conference, look to how we breathe and bring back life into this important entity of our movement, that which would provide us the necessary energy as well ability to be relevant in our times."

He said the alliance was a shadow of what it used to be.

"One wouldn't be mistaken for believing that it was no more."

Regaining lost ground However, he also said the alliance was crucial in regaining lost ground following the party's massive losses during the local government elections.

He said the rise of urban centres has led to a drop for the ANC. "The question has to be asked, why do we enjoy less favour when service delivery has been achieved? I remember some comrades saying that all this expenditure wasted in areas that do not vote for us must be shifted to the rural areas because they vote for the organisation."

Masualle called the party's current leadership arrogant, complacent and ignorant. "There is a growing perception, [and] it’s a fact," he said.

At the event on Friday evening, the resounding majority of delegates however sang in favour of Mabuyane. - News24

Outcry over 'ghosts and girlfriends' at ANC Eastern Cape conference

Johannesburg - Delegates at the ANC's Eastern Cape elective conference have cried foul over the registration process, with claims of unauthorised members being allowed to participate in the event.

The second day of the conference started with some alleged delegates being barred from entering the International Convention Centre in East London.

The party was demanding that all delegates produce identity documents before entering the venue, and some claimed that they had no ID cards.

Tightening security

Security at the gates to the venue were bolstered with police.

ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) member Mlibo Qoboshiyane explained to journalists that the intense security was due to clashes between delegates on Friday night.

Members of the ANC who allegedly arrived without tags on Friday forced their way into the venue's hall.

The members who were apparently supporters of ANC provincial chair Phumulo Masualle clashed with delegates who supported outgoing secretary Oscar Mabuyane.

The situation led to the deployment of police.

ANC PEC member, Andile Lungisa, who was alleged to have been part of the team that instigated the incident, accused Mabuyane's office of inviting "friends and girlfriends" as part of the delegation.

"We must never invite our own friends, our own girlfriends... [to] the conference of the ANC. We have mandated the NEC (National Executive Committee) to clean up, but the reality of the situation is that people who were taken out by the NEC [during the clashes] - they are inside, they were given tags," he claimed.

Lungisa warned that should the situation persist, they will be forced to act.

1700 vs 4000

He claimed that about 1700 delegates were accredited for the conference yet about 4000 delegates had gained entry to the conference on Friday.

"Fraudulent people have been registered ... That thing must be corrected. Now we have been smiling, we have been given that office a number of opportunities to correct this fraudulent activity. Now we are running out of patience," he said.

Qoboshiyane however painted a rosier picture of the situation saying that the committee that was dealing with credentials of delegates was fully compliant.

He said some branches were accredited late.

He could not say how long the conference would last.

The event was scheduled to start at 09:00 however at around 13:30, delegates were still making their way into the venue.

"I don't want to be in a blame game now, we are [implementing] corrective measure[s] to ensure that we are sitting [in] this conference properly."

Taking a closer look

NEC delegate Lindiwe Zulu said that they were now looking thoroughly at verification.

"Everyone who will gain entry to the venue, must have a tag as well as their ID documents because we don't want to see what happened yesterday (Friday) [happen again]."

Zulu said the NEC was happy with the progress of the conference, adding that the credibility of the event was hinged on the management of processes according to the party's constitution.

Addressing a delegation from OR Tambo region on the sidelines of the conference, one member, Mluleki Ndlelanga, said if the number of delegates was over 1000, the conference could not proceed.

"We cannot allow anything. We can't allow people who are ghosts to participate in this conference... This conference is for the delegates who were elected in a BGM (Branch General Meeting). If that is not happening, there is no conference," he said.- News24