ANCWL: Tension at elective conference

2012-03-26 00:00

THERE was chaos at the ANC KZN Women’s League (ANCWL) elective conference at the Coastlands hotel in Durban this weekend.

The battle was over the position of chairperson, and it was the only position contested. All other members of the league’s provincial executive were elected unopposed.

According to members, the hotly contested battle between former chairperson Lungi Gcabashe and her challenger, Celiwe Madlopha, had nothing to do with the ANC’s succession battle or with any factions within the ANC. Many league members wanted Gcabashe out because they were unhappy with her leadership style. They felt she had not done much to raise the profile of the organisation within the province or to fight for gender rights. They campaigned on a ticket that it was time for new blood.

Madlopha, an MP and a former deputy mayor in the ­uMhlathuzi Municipality, was elected the new chairperson.

At a press briefing shortly after being elected, and flanked by the new committee, Madlopha said that at the ANC’s provincial elective conference in May the league would be backing Zweli Mkhize for chairperson and for his current provincial executive team to return unopposed.

Women’s league sources said this was in keeping with a position taken earlier this year by all ANC provincial structures that they would go to Mangaung as a united front to get President Jacob Zuma elected for a second term.

The league underplayed the chaos and the tense standoff for the chairperson’s post. The head of the ANCWL national organising committee, Nonkosi Mvana, said the ANC was a democracy and allowed for robust contestation. However, she agreed that there were problems with the membership of delegates, which had to be checked and correlated against the voters’ roll and this took time.

Insiders said the conference did get very tense, with allegations of membership fraud, hence the need for membership cards, signatures and ID books to be checked along with the voters roll. Voting, which was to have started on Saturday evening, eventually got under way late yesterday afternoon.

The other office bearers who were re-elected were Dolly Shandu (deputy chairperson), Nonhlanhla Khoza (provincial secretary), Weziwe Thusi (deputy provincial secretary) and Barbara Thompson (provincial treasurer).

Madlopha said they were committed to raising the profile of the KZN women’s league. One of their first tasks would be to conduct a membership audit and go on a recruitment drive.

The league has an estimated 26 000 members in the province. The ANC has 300 000 KZN members, many of whom are women who have not yet joined the women’s league.

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