KZN ANC conference adjourned indefinitely

2015-05-02 21:42
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

(Amanda Khoza, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban - The ANC's national executive committee member Joe Phaahla on Saturday expressed his disappointment at the turn of events that saw the sixth eThekwini regional conference being adjourned indefinitely in Durban.

Phaahla was speaking at a press conference at the Greyville racecourse exhibition centre where the sixth eThekwini regional conference was due to be re-run. 

But, the conference was brought to an abrupt end after disgruntled members, believed to be in Councillor Zandile Gumede's faction, disrupted proceedings.

More than 400 voting delegates were expected to elect new leadership, for the highly-contested position of regional chairmanship, at the conference which was scheduled to convene for the fourth time.

The first two sittings were postponed and the third one, which was held in February, was declared null and void in March after aggrieved members disputed the outcome.

EThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo won by 253 votes to Gumede's 212. But shortly after the conference it emerged that three branches had participated in the elections despite receiving an unqualified audit.

On Saturday Nxumalo was expected to face his opponent Gumede for the second time around but members continually disrupted proceedings by singing songs and banging on tables while leaders addressed the gathering.

Phaahla said he fully supported the region's decision to adjourn the conference.

"We cannot hide our disappointment at the turn of today's events because we had hoped to conclude the business of the day.

"But when the environment became the way it did [hostile], we agreed that it was in the best interest of the organisation that we adjourn," said Phaahla.

He said the region needed to address the grievances raised by the delegates.

"We did speak very strongly to the delegates about their grievances and the shortcomings. We also told them that they cannot raise their grievances by being disruptive.

"As you all know KZN is one of the biggest and the most important regions, not simply because of its strength in the ANC but strategically it is one of the six metros and has a large population," said a concerned Phaahla.


Provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said a large number of delegates were eager to continue with the conference but a particular section was disruptive.

"There were arguments, and delegates raised a number of issues specifically complaining about the non-participation of ward 37.

"The problem is that they did not elect their delegates at the Branch General Meeting. The Branch General Meeting delegated the Branch Executive Committee to elect the delegates so we felt that those delegates elected were not constitutionally recognised because the constitution dictates that the Branch General Meeting should elect delegates," explained Zikalala.

He said, "We have engaged with the delegates and we felt that we had to adjourn the conference for the sake of unity. We will have sessions with branches in the next two weeks or so where we will be interacting with then to discuss their grievances."

He said the next elective conference sitting would be announced following the consultations.

"It is not a question that we succumbed to pressure but it was to make sure that we have a united region going forward. We believe that the adjournment will serve as a uniting factor in the region because if we had proceeded we wouldn't have emerged with a united collective," said Zikalala.

ANC provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu said, "Under normal circumstances there are normal things that would have happened in the conference for the ANC to have a sound conference.

"But for whatever reason [today] there has been this kind of behaviour from a particular section of delegates that wanted to disrupt the proceedings.

"We need to find the best way to resolve these matters so that we lay a good solid foundation for members in the ANC. If there are internal squabbles then we need to deal with them in the best possible way," said Mchunu.

Stormed out

Earlier on Saturday proceedings began smoothly as delegates from the James Nxumalo camp arrived confidently singing songs endorsing Nxumalo.

When the conference started ANC provincial chairperson Mchunu took the podium and addressed the sitting.

While Mchunu was speaking members, believed to be in the Zandile Gumede camp could be heard outside singing and chanting, "37 awukho la, asiphelelanga" [Branch 37 is not here, we are underrepresented]. They also sang, "Senzeni na Senzo Mchunu?" [What have we done Senzo Mchunu?]

The singing continued inside the hall and members of the provincial executive committee including Zikalala, Willies Mchunu and Senzo Mchunu failed to control the crowds who sang over their voices and banged on tables.

When the disruptions continued, members of the PEC asked the members of the media to leave the sitting and declared it a closed session in order to deal with the disgruntled delegates' grievances.

James Nxumalo's opponent, Gumede, was seen storming out of the premises after hours of deliberation and later the media was informed that the conference had been adjourned until further notice.

Read more on:    anc  |  james nxumalo  |  zandile gumede  |  senzo mchunu  |  durban  |  politics

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.