NELSON Mandela Bay ANC leader Nceba Faku will call the shots in the party for the next three years, after his detractors failed to convince his bosses to nullify a conference which elected him two months ago.
The verdict by ANC national and provincial leaders who were sent to the Bay to investigate the validity of the conference is a huge blow for mayor Zanoxolo Wayile and the members who support him.
Conference delegates had agreed with Faku that Wayile, his deputy Nancy Sihlwayi, speaker Maria Hermans and chief whip Feziwe Sibeko should be fired.
The team reported its findings to the party’s provincial working committee yesterday.
ANC spokesman Mlibo Qoboshiyane refused to give details of the findings, saying the branches that had lodged a complaint about the conference were yet to be told of the decision.
However, a senior ANC leader, who was part of the team, confirmed that while they had found that the region was battling with political infighting, there were "insufficient reasons to nullify the conference”.
The investigation followed an appeal lodged by several branches in the city last month, which alleged the conference was rigged.
A number of branch delegates who supported Wayile for chairman opted to stay away from the conference in April 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.
ANC national disciplinary committee chairman Derek Hanekom, who led the team of investigators, would not confirm the outcome of the inquiry, only saying the recommendation had been given to the party’s Eastern Cape leaders yesterday.
"We are going down to Nelson Mandela Bay next week ... to meet with the mayor, deputy mayor, speaker and chief whip to discuss the various challenges in the city,” Hanekom said.
Responding to rumours that the four would be recalled this week, Hanekom said there had been "no decision taken to recall anyone”.
Qoboshiyane said: "The report is to be discussed ... The PWC [provincial working committee] will conclude the matter today [yesterday] and at an appropriate time we shall inform the public, including the media, about the outcome.
"The PWC is considering the recommendations, but we request that its outcomes be politically embraced under a principle of unity and cohesion. In the metro, we have to close the chapter of hatred, humiliation and collapse of systems.”
Meanwhile, ANC regional secretary Zandisile Qupe said word about the outcome of the inquiry had not been officially received, and they would continue implementing the decisions taken at the regional elective conference.
At the conference, Faku called for "loyal deployees”, particularly in "the offices of executive mayor, deputy executive mayor, speaker and chief whip”.
Regional leaders, however, need to get permission from provincial bosses to fire Wayile.
Qupe said the regional executive committee would continue to "build and strengthen branches” once it received official word about the outcome of the "audit”.
Wayile was not available for comment yesterday.