With only weeks to go before the ANC’s crucial Moses Mabhida regional conference, key ANC figures have said that none of the party’s 88 branches in region are in good standing, and divisions and a leadership vacuum have rendered the organisation incapable of holding the conference.“All the branches currently don’t have proper leadership structures, with the ANC Regional Task Team [RTT] struggling to win support of branch members, the majority of whom continue to be loyal to former regional leaders aligned to the so-called Zuma camp,” a source within the ANC Moses Mabhida regional leadership said.The claims come shortly after ANC national executive member (NEC) member Blade Nzimande described party structures in the region as “dead”.Nzimande, who hails from the region, cited the near-collapse of ANC-controlled municipalities such as Msunduzi as evidence that the party in the Moses Mabhida region had been rendered dysfunctional.“We have failed the ANC in Pietermaritzburg. The RTT is also telling of that failure. It is also evident in the levels of filth around this city. You can see that the ANC is dead … It can’t even manage the municipality,” Nzimande said.According to ANC guidelines, party branches are considered to be in good standing if they hold meetings and elect a new leadership every two years.So far none of the ANC branches in the region has been able to elect new leaders within the prescribed period.A source told The Witness that despite being in office for close to two years, the RTT, which was appointed by the ANC provincial top brass led by Premier Sihle Zikalala, had been unable to stamp its authority in the region.“What we are seeing in the region is a regional leadership in the form of the RTT which has no influence whatsoever within the broader ANC in the Moses Mabhida region.“The majority of ANC members in the region view the RTT as an illegitimate structure that is being imposed by a faction within the party’s provincial leadership,” the source said.Led by ANC KwaZulu-Natal MPL Thulani “Two-Ways” Xulu, the RTT was appointed in 2018 amid hopes that the interim leadership structure would stabilise the party.The ANC in the region has been struggling to unite since the divisions caused by a power struggle between President Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma during the build-up to the 2017 national elective conference.However, with the ANC provincial leadership having instructed the region to hold an elective conference by March, there are no indications it will be able to go ahead.“Divisions within the party in the region are so deep to the extent that the RTT will not be able to bring the party’s factions under one roof. It will be a miracle if the RTT was to be able to prepare branches for the March regional conference,” another source said.Xulu on Monday rubbished the claims that the ANC in the region was in shambles.“If you are an honest person and look at the work that has been done since the appointment of the RTT, then there is nowhere you can arrive at the conclusion that the ANC in the Moses Mabhida region is dead.“It is the RTT that intervened in municipalities such as Msunduzi, where people who have been accused of wrong-doing are currently either under suspension or have been dismissed. Since the appointment of the RTT there have been huge improvements in the performances of municipalities in the region.”More than 60% of the branches in the region, Xulu said, were ready to go for conference.“Yes, it is true that there were still challenges here and there but the fact of the matter is that significant progress has been made in preparation for the March conference,” he said.Xulu also rejected claims that the RTT’s continued existence was in violation of the ANC’s policies, which, among other things, limits the RTT’s term of office to six months.“The fact of the matter is that the current RTT has been in office since December. The fact that some of the current RTT members were in the previous leadership structure that was appointed in 2018 does not take away the fact that the current RTT was appointed a few weeks ago,” he said.