Ekurhuleni's Masina set to return as regional chair as conference gets underway

2018-06-29 19:25
Mzwandile Masina (GCIS)

Mzwandile Masina (GCIS)

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A faction linked to ANC Ekurhuleni chairperson Mzwandile Masina is expected to solidify its hold on Gauteng's "rebel region" when it finally holds its elective congress this weekend.

The ANC in the province gave its regions the green light to go ahead with their conferences ahead of the provincial conference in July. Johannesburg will also hold its conference this weekend. 

Masina, his close allies; music mogul Thembinkosi "TK" Nciza, ANC council chief whip Jongizizwe Dlabathi, Ekurhuleni human settlement MMC Lesiba Mpya and councillor Nomadlozi Nkosi have been pegged as the city's potential leadership collective. 

READ: Last-minute bid to save ANC Ekurhuleni regional conference

The confidence in Masina that has been expressed by some members is a far cry from a view some had of the mayor in the lead-up to ANC's 54th national elective conference in 2017. Some of his detractors are seeking to see him removed from both his positions as mayor and regional chair. 

The region has earned the title of "rebel region" as it has pushed for positions contradicting the province's. 

Branches in Ekurhuleni rejected Masina's attempt to have them support Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's bid for the presidency in the ANC's watershed December conference. Instead, they supported the Gauteng executive's decision to back President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mgwebi on the chopping block

This weekend's Ekurhuleni conference could also signal the end of the tenure of the first female secretary for the region, Theliswa Mgwebi. Even though she has made herself available for re-election for the post, some have said she stands no chance against the popular Nciza.

"Of course, I am available but constitutionally that decision lies with the branches, so if they don't want me, then I will leave everything," said Mgwebi.

The outgoing secretary described her tenure as difficult and filled with a lot of challenges, which included having to rely on a coalition government to control the municipality after the 2016 local government elections.

Some in the region have accused her of running the organisation in the region like a "spaza shop". Mgwebi said that was far from the truth and cited growing membership under her leadership as proof.

"I don't think I failed at doing my job, for the mere fact that I am the first female secretary in this region and I am taking close to 300 delegates to both regional and provincial congress," said Mgwebi.

Best-run region

Her view that Ekurhuleni grew is supported by Nciza, who told News24 that the region was probably the best-run out of all the ANC regions throughout the country.

"The ANC here has done very well, to be honest. It's just internal dynamics that are really the issue," Nciza told News24.

Nciza, who said he was uncomfortable discussing his chances of taking over as regional secretary as the nominations made by branches hadn't been opened, said he wanted to see the party in the region redefining itself.

"What is important is that we must kill factionalism that's institutionalised," Nciza said. However, when told he was clearly part of a faction or at least on Masina's slate, he defended the branches' right to have a preference.

"I don't lead a faction," said the influential leader that some claim is in charge of the party in Ekurhuleni.

Both leaders defended Masina's stance in the lead-up to congress.

"We have the right to have differing views. It's a battle of ideas, no one is better than the other unless you want the ANC to behave differently," said Nciza.

Mgwebi, echoing his views, said members were taught from a young age to be militant in the party.

"In the ANC there's a battle of ideas, but [that] we are militant doesn't mean we are fighting with the PEC [provincial executive committee]," she said.

Support for Makhura

Nciza was reluctant to state who he wanted to see emerge victorious from the provincial congress that takes place in a few weeks' time.

Masina is said to be backing economic development MEC Lebogang Maile and Emfuleni Mayor David Khawe who are running for deputy chair and secretary respectively. Premier David Makhura is expected to win the position of provincial chair uncontested. 

"We are 100% behind Makhura to take us forward," said Mgwebi without any hesitation.

She told News24 that she personally wanted to see Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi emerge as Makhura's deputy when the province eventually holds its elective conference next month.

Read more on:    anc  |  mzwandile masina

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