ANC’s Limpopo conference expected to elect party leadership today

2014-02-15 13:45

The long-awaited ANC Limpopo conference is finally under way and delegates are expected to elect new provincial party leadership amid a fierce contest for the position of chairperson.

The conference was officially opened late last night after some delay, which was attributed to unofficial caucuses held in the perimeters by those believed to be factions with different ideas on who should lead the ANC in the province.

This was the last opportunity for those lobbying for their favourite leaders to gather supporters and strategise before they finally joined conference.

Dickson Masemola, who was expected to be nominated against Stan Mathabatha for the position of chairperson, was spotted in the dark parking lot where one of the meetings was held last night.

A flood of delegates later came into the venue singing pro-Mathabatha songs before the conference proceedings finally got under way after 10pm.

These clear indications of divisions were later discouraged by speakers, including NEC member Nathi Mthethwa.

He said it was democratic for people to canvass, emphasising that all must be done to strengthen the ANC. Mthethwa warned against the danger of party members being “arrested to the mode”, which was seen at the conference where people had opposed ideas when it came to who must lead. He encouraged them to accept the outcome of the conference and support new leadership even if their preferred candidates did not make it.

He said if people failed to support the new leadership this would only lead to the continuation of factionalism. “Factions are vicious and if you belong to a faction you don’t have a life of your own. In other words you have outsourced your thinking,” he said.

Mthethwa warned party members against “being members of another [party]”. He further spoke against delegates being manipulated, and the use of money and other resources as part of lobbying support.

Meanwhile, the conference is taking place under very strict security measures. All vehicles are subjected to a thorough search at the gate of the University of Limpopo's Turfloop campus. Those with alcohol are turned away or are asked to leave it at the entrance.

The word among delegates was that alcohol was disallowed to prevent people from buying delegates with bottles of booze.

It was also rumoured that at least two men with stashes of cash were turned away at the entrance to the campus as it is believed some were using cash to buy delegates’ favour for vote.

Delegates arrived back at the venue this morning for a closed session where they were going to get an organisational, as well as treasurer’s, reports.

Spokesperson of the provincial task team of the ANC in Limpopo Sello Lediga said delegates would soon nominate and vote for the top five of the new leadership before they proceeded to debate policy issues.

It was expected to be revealed later today who has been favoured to lead the ANC in Limpopo.

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