AS the Lower South Coast ANC was supposed to prepare for a regional conference this month, the race has begun for possible names believed to have been nominated by branches to lead the party in the region. It is, however, unclear whether the conference will still sit because the executive structure of the party is still waiting for the outcome of the appeal from secretary general Gwede Mantashe.The regional executive committee (REC) was stripped of its powers by the provincial executive committee (NEC) recently.According to sources from within the party, Mzwandile Mkhwanazi has emerged as the front-runner in the race to take over as the ANC regional chairman on the Lower South Coast. Of the 24 branches in the region, 22 are reported to support him.Mkhwanazi’s biggest challenge comes from current Ugu mayor and deputy chair of the ANC in the region, Mondli Chiliza. A new entrant in the race is Thabani Dube, the Umdoni Municipality Mayor. A source close to ANC leadership said Dube’s entry means there are now three factions within the ruling party.“We only had ‘Forces of Change’ and the ‘Progressives’. Now we have yet another faction,” said the source.Another source told Fever the reason PEC stripped the REC of its powers is because they were trying to assist Mondli Chiliza’s faction as the numbers were not in his favour. ANC spokesman Selvan Chetty said they will not make any move until they receive a response of the appeal from secretary general.