ANC provincial conference: Gauteng braces for heated leadership battle

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Paul Mashatile’s failed to convince Panyaza Lesufi and Lebogang Maile not to contest each other. Photo: Archive
Paul Mashatile’s failed to convince Panyaza Lesufi and Lebogang Maile not to contest each other. Photo: Archive


ANC acting secretary general Paul Mashatile’s failure to convince Panyaza Lesufi and Lebogang Maile not to contest each other for the sake of the party’s rebuilding strategy and the 2024 elections has given powers to the branches to elect their favourite Gauteng provincial chairperson this weekend.

Mashatile held several meetings with the two leaders over the past few weeks but failed to reach a compromise on the proposal that Lesufi, as the incumbent deputy should become the chairperson while Maile would become his deputy.

This left their fate in the hands of the divided branch delegates.

City Press has learnt that Lesufi has the backing of Sedibeng and Johannesburg regions while Maile enjoys the support in Pretoria and Ekurhuleni.

READ: Mashatile in bid to collapse Gauteng factions

But while Maile enjoys the support of several regional executive committees, the ANC Women’s League in both regions have pledged their support for Lesufi.

The veterans have pledged to support Maile for the conference that will be held in Benoni, east of Gauteng.

Only the West Rand region will go to the conference without the leadership votes after it failed to hold the regional conference.

The divided branches on the West Rand are tipped to be the kingmakers as it is not clear who are they supporting.

READ: Membership disputes threaten ANC conferences

Even though the outgoing provincial leadership assured members that the conference would go ahead as planned – from Thursday to Sunday – it cautioned that there were still outstanding unresolved branch disputes.

In his briefing on the state of readiness, the outgoing provincial secretary Jacob Khawe, said the dispute resolution committee was still hearing some disputes in the branches.

“As we speak, we have other branches whose disputes are being heard by the national appeals committee and whatever happens there, some branches may want to appeal the verdicts, while at other branches the verdict was that they must rerun their conference,” said Khawe.

He said:

We have taken a decision as the provincial leadership to start the conference differently – by delegating the first day on June 23, for the accreditation and running through with registrations, which we started last week.

Khawe said the conference would start with political discussions rather than the elections.

“And then on [Friday] June 24, most sessions will be closed to the media because we’ll be doing the parts the secretariat report, treasurer support the political address by the chairperson of the ANC. And then we’ll adopt the credentials [of the delegates] and then the next day we’ll really focus on the elections and commissions,” he said.

Khawe said the provincial secretary’s report would guide the discussions, including the various documents that have been prepared to answer the critical questions about the state of Gauteng’s economy. Khawe said:

We want the conference to focus on forming government, both in the province and in the local government.

“We want our conference to really think about the mechanisms that we can use to build cohesion in our province. But also on the agenda are development and path of our province.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa had been invited to address the conference on Sunday and to also talk about the seven decades since the adoption of the Freedom Charter.

“Then on Sunday, because the day coincides with 67 years of the existence of the Freedom Charter, we have decided to invite the president to talk to us about the advancement of the goals articulated by the Freedom Charter and also about the renewal project of the ANC,” said Khawe.

He said 1 138 delegates are expected to attend – 1 033 from the branches and 105 from the provincial executive, the leagues, the regional executive committees and the West Rand regional task team.


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