OR Tambo conference under way

2012-08-04 21:15

The ANC’s much-anticipated, oft-postponed ORTambo regional elective conference finally got under way yesterday.

The conference, hosted at Walter Sisulu University’s Zamukulungisa campus in Mthatha, was supposed to start on Friday.

However, national, provincial and regional leaders spent the whole of Friday considering disputes and appeals from branches across the hotly contested region.

These disputes saw the conference postponed seven times in the run-up to this weekend.

Yesterday, delegates spent the morning registering, while leaders remained behind closed doors, still trying to resolve some disputes.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who was meant to deliver the keynote address after 10am, had not spoken by lunchtime when the conference opened.

It was later announced that Eastern Cape ANC chairman Phumulo Masualle, himself an NEC member, would deliver the keynote address in Mantashe’s place.

No explanation was given.

OR Tambo is the ANC’s second-biggest region, with a claimed membership of 80 000.

Its size and stature mean it could be hugely influential at the party’s national elective conference in Mangaung.

Before the conference started yesterday, the region was split between those who supported a second term for President Jacob Zuma and those who wanted a new president.

Leadership nominations had not happened at the time of going to press.

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