Not much love in the air ahead of ANC ‘Valentine’s conference’ in Limpopo

2014-02-12 09:45

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The ANC in Limpopo will finally hold its provincial conference – dubbed the “Valentine’s conference” – this weekend.

It is, however, doubtful that there will be much love in the air at a conference where factionalism and divisions are expected to play out amid the election of the party’s new leadership in the province.

The camps of top candidates Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha and MEC Dickson Masemola have been in talks to convince Masemola to drop out of the contest.

But his backers were seemingly prepared to stick with him to the end despite dwindling support.

Read: Divisions in Stan Mathabatha’s camp over who should be his ANC deputy

Meanwhile, the provincial task team appointed after the disbanding of the Cassel Mathale-led ANC provincial leadership early last year held what was probably their last press briefing as an interim structure, and they assured the media that the conference would finally happen after at least two postponements.

Coordinator of the provincial task team Joy Matshoge said that the last ANC branches held their branch general meetings last week, so they would know the number that has qualified to go to conference after verifications this week.

Matshoge was confident that they would get the required 70% threshold that would enable them to go to conference. She said the percentage translates to 380 branches of the 543 branches in the province.

The Limpopo provincial conference was postponed at least twice in the past three months amid growing tensions, internal and legal disputes, factionalism and divisions.

The outgoing provincial task team said their journey since taking over the ANC in Limpopo had “not been a bed of roses but rather a sometimes rocky odyssey filled with numerous potholes”.

“I am pleased to inform you that the nine-month journey took us 11 months and we’re ready for an historic provincial conference this weekend on the 14, 15 and 16 February at the University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus,” Matshoge said yesterday.

She said despite all the challenges, including the hard work of mending a troubled ANC in the province, the provincial task team has delivered, but said factionalism remained a deep-rooted problem.

“The noble task of uniting ANC structures in the province, particularly stamping out factionalism and rebuilding branches, cannot be achieved in nine or 11 months. The national executive committee itself in disbanding the provincial executive committee of the ANC held its ordinary monthly provincial executive committee meeting on October 18 2013 pronounced that factionalism in the organisation had become institutionalised,” Matshoge said.

“The process of de-institutionalising factionalism will in our view take several years of intensive political education to stamp it out, considering the depth of the problem.”

Meanwhile, Matshoge has confirmed that her office has received a report of an alleged assault of an ANC official by another at Frans Mohlala House, the provincial party headquarters.

It was reported earlier that a case of common assault was opened after Limpopo ANC media liaison officer Sipho Dikgale was allegedly beaten by provincial task team spokesperson Sello Lediga.

“There are ups and downs in any organisation, but we can’t put our head on the block and say whether an assault took place, but a report is in my office and a case has been opened,” Matshoge said of the alleged assault.

Dikgale and Lediga’s fight is said to be part of the broader factionalism, which also reigns in the provincial task team itself, where the convenor, Mdaka, is linked to the Mathabatha camp. Matshoge is largely connected to Masemola’s backers.

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