'Don't be factional, Panyaza' - Gauteng ANC members corner leaders over quarantined votes at congress

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The ANC's Gauteng leadership: Morake Mosopyoe, Tasneem Motara, Panyaza Lesufi, Thembinkosi Nciza and Nomantu Nkomo- Ralehoko. (Photo by Christopher Moagi)
The ANC's Gauteng leadership: Morake Mosopyoe, Tasneem Motara, Panyaza Lesufi, Thembinkosi Nciza and Nomantu Nkomo- Ralehoko. (Photo by Christopher Moagi)
  • The ANC in Gauteng reconvened its provincial conference on Saturday in Boksburg, Gauteng. 
  • The province had failed to conclude its conference in June as members bickered about credentials. 
  • Saturday's proceedings were again delayed as delegates were divided, some demanding the opening of quarantined votes from the Ekurhuleni region. 

ANC Gauteng leaders were cornered by delegates demanding that quarantined votes from the ANC Ekurhuleni region be opened before the election of the provincial executive committee (PEC).  

The ANC in Gauteng had a short programme planned for this weekend as the province attempted to conclude its congress, which failed to close two weeks ago.  

Conflicts and debates about credentials had marred the initial sitting in June.

The conference could only elect the top leaders for the province, but not the complete executive committee. 

A similar pattern of arguments played out on Saturday at the resumption of the gathering. 

While ANC Gauteng chairperson Panyaza Lesufi attempted to guide delegates to the election process for PEC members, a fraction of delegates raised objections.  

A debate ensued, with people taking to the microphone, calling for the conference to open quarantined votes from the Ekurhuleni region.  

READ | 'We will have a problem in 2024' - Mantashe, Makhura sound alarm over ANC's decline in support

The Ekurhuleni conference saw votes from five branches set aside at the regional conference in May.

Those same branches were allowed to participate at the ANC Gauteng conference, but the votes were again set aside.  

The ANC national executive committee had decided that the newly elected ANC Gauteng PEC should deal with the disputed branches from Ekurhuleni.  

Visibly frustrated faces dominated the conference room at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg. Some delegates banged their hands on tables and mocked those who attempted to speak because of the objections raised.  

Those in support of this motion insisted they were not asking for the matter of credentials to be reopened. They said the quarantined votes could impact the election of the PEC.  

"We need to know what happened in the top five before we move on to the PEC. We must open the quarantined votes," a delegate from Ekurhuleni said.  

Lebogang Maile, who contested the chairperson position against Lesufi, said those calling for quarantined votes to be opened had to understand that those could have implications on the election outcome of the top five.

Heckled by delegates, Maile cautioned his fellow members on the impact of opening the votes.

He said Lesufi's earlier assurances that leaders would deal with the quarantined votes later were valid. 

An ANC member from the Joburg region warned Lesufi not to "entertain" issues about the Ekurhuleni matter. 

He said Lesufi would be factional in accepting the request to open the votes. 

Don't be factional, Panyaza. We accepted the results but don't be factional in your approach.

Another delegate from Joburg took a different stance, saying not opening the votes would be undemocratic.

 "I would like to support the motion of opening the votes. If you make the votes of those delegates not to be counted it's not fair. They must participate fully. I want to leave the programme knowing I'm part of a democratic process," a woman from Joburg said. 

An emergency steering committee meeting was held in the afternoon to discuss motions raised by delegates. 

READ | 'Unity' top five emerges at ANC Gauteng conference as Lesufi takes top post

Lesufi had on Saturday morning reconvened the conference, calling for delegates to unite. He said there were no longer "Panya Panya or Adiwele" slates but a united ANC Gauteng. 

Lesufi said:

We must cease unnecessary and meaningless hatred among ourselves. Our failure to love each other will be our downfall. We must end the inward-looking attitude that has crept into our movement.

He reminded the party it faced a tough election in 2024 and had no time for factional battles but only to discuss political strategies. 

"Within that 19 months, there is no time to point fingers at each other. We need a disciplined movement and members who will marshal us to victory in 2024. As we start this part of the conference, let's love each other. I want to urge that there are no super members, we are all members of the ANC, and we must be treated equally," Lesufi said. 

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