ANC hopes for incident-free Mpuma conference despite complaints

2012-04-05 13:11

The ANC in Mpumalanga is confident that it will hold an incident-free conference this weekend amid the atmosphere of disgruntlement among rivals of Premier David Mabuza.

The province has 414 branches and the conference, which starts today, will be attended by about 1 500 delegates.

Anti-Mabuza lobbyists will go into the conference having lodged more than 100 disputes with provincial secretary Lucky Ndinisa which they claim were never dealt with.

The disputes about nomination processes for candidates allude to simmering tensions. City Press has a sample of 55 copies from different branches.

The complaints include allegations of membership fraud, the pointing of firearms, intimidation, physical and verbal assault.

The complaints further point fingers at Mabuza allies for allegedly allowing branch meetings that had not reached a quorum, forgery of members’ signatures, and exclusion of anti-Mabuza members.

Last month, legislature member Meshack Malinga was arrested for allegedly confiscating candidate nomination forms from a branch secretary in Middelburg.

These forms are handed over at branch meetings and then sent to Ndinisa’s office in a sealed box to be counted.

Mpumalanga ANC spokesperson Paul Mbenyane said it was “all systems go” for the conference.

“The Dispute Resolution Committee has looked into all disputes one by one and we can say without any fear of contradiction that they have been dealt with,” Mbenyane said.

“Obviously, some people will be aggrieved for months after the conference. We’re sure that the conference will be incident-free,” he added.

Mabuza is facing a challenge to his provincial chairpersonship from his former allies – deputy chairperson Charles Makola and treasurer (also health MEC) Clifford Mkasi – who brought him the Nkangala and Bohlabela regions to seal his victory in the 2008 conference against former Mbombela mayor Lassy Chiwayo.

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL), Cosatu and SACP are scheduled to meet tonight to decide who should be chairperson and deputy among the two men.

The ANCYL proposed Mkasi for chairperson while the SACP and Cosatu are in favour of Makola.

The provincial conference was initially scheduled for February, but had to be postponed many times due to delayed branch audits.

Mabuza consolidated his control of the province last year when his allies won all the regional conferences in Ehlanzeni, Nkangala, Gert Sibande and Bohlabela amid the same allegations of fraud.

His allies are accused of abusing their positions to stifle any challenge to Mabuza building up to the conference.

The Mabuza camp has been circulating a text message that predicts a landslide victory for Mabuza.

It claims Mabuza has the backing of 326 branches and Makola only 35. It further says that 946 delegates would vote Mabuza and only 101 for Makola.

The Makola camp circulated its own text message, disputing the Mabuza camp’s as propaganda.

“True reflection of de highly contested terrain. Ignore de earlier propaganda from Vlakplaas (sic),” read the Makola camp message.

The Makola camp will be calling for the manual counting of the votes and banning of cellphones during voting.

“We won’t allow any space for rigging the votes. In the past, delegates were taking photos of their ballots to show their masters that they had indeed voted for them so that they could be paid,” said a Makola campaigner.

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