THE leadership of the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay hangs in the balance as senior party bosses are to scrutinise the validity of the regional conference which re-elected Nceba Faku as chairman in April.
Despite the conference being initially endorsed by at least two members from the provincial and national executive committees, several branches in the metro appealed and, on Monday night, persuaded a broader structure of the party’s provincial leadership to investigate complaints that the conference was rigged.
Party insiders said the meeting at the provincial headquarters in Calata House, King William’s Town, decided that while deployees like provincial executive committee (PEC) member Helen Sauls-August had initially rubber-stamped the conference, the complaints from the disgruntled branches were enough to warrant an investigation.
The team, which includes ANC national disciplinary committee chairman Derek Hanekom, has two weeks to come to the metro, talk to branch members and assess the conference and the process leading up to it to determine if it was in line with the party’s constitution.
Sauls-August and other leaders who were deployed from the PEC to oversee the conference at St Albans conference centre have to "urgently submit a comprehensive report” on their observations of the conference.
They were all given 14 days to table their respective reports.
While ANC provincial spokesman Mlibo Qoboshiyane would not indicate what would happen if the conference was found to be flawed, party insiders who are against Faku’s leadership are itching for it to be restarted.
The final results of the "audit” will have significant implications for the party’s leadership in the metro, as well as the provincial political landscape.
If the conference is restarted, the new leadership will largely determine who will be at the helm of government in the metro as well as sway the Bay’s vote between President Jacob Zuma, his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe and national executive committee (NEC) member Tokyo Sexwale when the ANC elects a new president in Mangaung in December.
"A team of NEC members, together with PEC members who were not involved [in the conference], is to be dispatched to Nelson Mandela Bay within 14 days.
"The team will pay attention to all allegations made against the conference. All the affected parties will be expected to give support to the team,” Qoboshiyane said.
Several branch delegates who supported mayor Zanoxolo Wayile to be elected as chairman opted to stay away from the conference in protest against what they claimed was an unfair process designed to ensure Faku’s victory. They also hoped the conference would not reach a quorum and therefore would not continue.
"The PWC also wishes to raise seriously the issues of delegates who failed to register for the conference as this is tantamount to putting the ANC into disrepute and disorganising the movement,” Qoboshiyane said.
He said those members could face disciplinary measures as their actions had resulted in the legitimacy of the conference being questioned.
ANC circles in the city were abuzz yesterday with rumours circulating by SMS that Wayile would be removed as mayor today and replaced by Faku.
Some members said the provincial leadership had finally given the nod for Wayile, his deputy Nancy Sihlwayi, speaker Maria Hermans and chief whip Feziwe Sibeko to be sacked at today’s council meeting.
The REC has been calling for their removal for months, citing insubordination. However, Qoboshiyane dismissed the rumours yesterday.
Meanwhile, ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane last night dismissed reports that the Bay REC had been disbanded. "There is no such thing. We are following a process and when we prove or disprove the allegations, the ANC will deal with that.”