Danny Jordaan on the campaign trail in Nelson Mandela Bay on Monday (Thulani Gqirana, News24)
Port Elizabeth - Former mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay Danny Jordaan has been appointed the official leader of the opposition by the African National Congress.
At a news conference at Florence Matomela House on Wednesday afternoon, the regional task team (RTT) announced that Jordaan had been nominated, and had accepted, the position of leader of the opposition.
Jordaan was, however, notably absent from the proceedings.
"He is our tried and tested leader. We don't just select people, we select people on the basis of what they possess," RTT convener Vuyani Limba.
Limba said Jordaan had wanted to be at the press conference, but had been deployed by the ANC to attend to other matters.
"He has been sent somewhere by the ANC, that is why he is not here now," he said.
Too much focus on Jordaan
Asked whether Jordaan would remain as head of the opposition for the full five-year term, Limba said this was speculation.
"The question of full five years is your speculation. When we deploy someone, we deploy for the full period," he said.
RTT co-ordinator Bheja Ntshona said too much focus was being placed on Jordaan.
"One of the challenges we have been observing, although there seems to be a lot of focus on comrade Danny and his whereabouts, no one recognises that comrade Danny and this leadership in the municipality have made good strides in that municipality. On issues of finance, on issues of corruption, and issues of transformation of that institution.
"It should not be an issue now, when we refer to the ANC we single out Danny. He remains a committed member of the ANC and a councillor of the ANC," said Ntshona.
Ntshona also announced that the RTT and its structures had met last week to assess the outcome of the 2016 local government elections and to map a way forward.
"The ANC structures made it clear that people still love the ANC and have confidence in our glorious movement," he said.
Ntshona said, however, that concerns had been raised regarding a number of issues that affect the organisation, which needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
He said the RTT had resolved that it would visit all its branches between August 25 and 31 and convene a regional consultative indaba in September, as well as hold a regional general council later on when all organisational processes and membership audits had been concluded.
"The ANC admits that it is now the official opposition in council and is gearing itself to assume that responsibility," said Ntshona.
"As its strategic plan, the ANC will convene a workshop of all its deployees as an orientation of council procedures and processes. The workshop will be preceded by the alliance strategic planning session with all public representatives."
Apart from announcing Jordaan as leader of the opposition, Ntshona announced Bicks Ndoni as deputy party leader, Litho Suka as party whip, while Buyelwa Mafaya had been appointed caucus secretary.
Councillor Andile Lungisa, who was punted as a possible candidate for the leadership role, has been appointed as the convener of the political committee, with Ncediso Captain appointed as the committee's scribe.
Ntshona also announced the ANC's shadow mayoral committee.
- Infrastructure and engineering: Andile Lungisa
- Budget and treasury: Rory Riordan
- Sport and recreation: Xola Sabani
- Public health: Queenie Pink
- Economic development: Buyelwa Mafaya
- Human settlement: Andile Mfunda
- Safety and security: Itumeleng Ranyele
- Human resources: Makhi Feni
- Roads and transport: Mbulelo Gidane
- Public accounts: Ncediso Captain
"This team will be assessed every six months and we are confident that with the calibre of these comrades, we will be a vibrant opposition," said Ntshona.