Masualle, Jonas in face-off for top provincial ANC post

2009-09-10 16:01

THE hotly contested Eastern Cape ANC conference got off to a slow

start in East London today.

By 4pm delegates were still registering at the local Orient

Theatre, even though the main event had been scheduled to start in the

morning.

Supporters of Phumulo Masualle, SA Communist Party (SACP) national

treasurer, an underdog in the contest for provincial ANC chairpersonship,

put up a show of force by declaring that more delegates from various regions had

pledged to support him.

Masualle will have a face-off with his one-time ally and provincial

finance minister Mcebisi Jonas in the contest for the heart and soul of the

ANC’s heartland. So far, Jonas has been tipped as favourite to win the contest

when the results are announced on Saturday.

Masualle’s main lobbyist and provincial ANC Youth League (ANCYL)

chairperson Mlibo Qhoboshiyane said they expected more than 1 200 of the 2 046

delegates to vote in favour of Masualle.

The provincial conference is said to be the biggest ever as the ANC

saw a surge in membership in the wake of the formation of new opposition

Congress of the People, which has also claimed the province as its

stronghold.

Ironically, the ANC claimed the same figures, saying it was a

foregone conclusion that their line-up would win the elective conference.

Jonas is backed by those who feel that the ANC should not be led by

people aligned to the SACP.

Qhoboshiyane also confirmed that provincial agriculture minister

Gugile Nkwinti would stand as Masualle’s deputy. This is despite attempts by the

provincial ANCYL to persuade Nkwinti not to stand.

ANC president Jacob Zuma is expected to address the ANC Indaba

tomorrow morning. He is not expected to sway the conference in either direction,

but is expected to emphasise the importance of cordial relations among the ANC

and its allies.

 

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