It's a two-man race for Mpumalanga ANC chair as voting gets underway

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  • The race for the Mpumalanga ANC chairperson position is between two men.
  • Intense lobbying continued on Friday night as conference delegates were expected to field nominations. 
  • The province last held a conference in 2015. 

The race to lead the ANC in Mpumalanga is a two-person race between politically familiar faces, former acting provincial chairperson Mandla Ndlovu and former provincial secretary Lucky Ndinisa.

Both men accepted nominations in the early hours of Saturday morning, as voting began.

Plagued by political violence and infighting, the Mpumalanga ANC's conference got underway with concerns about the state of the party's membership. 

In 2017, Mpumalanga emerged as the province with the second-highest number of delegates at the ANC national conference. 

The outcome of the province's elective conference will play a pivotal role in helping decide whether Cyril Ramaphosa will be able to retain his leadership position in the party in December.

READ | Mpumalanga conference to be held despite court action, ANC insists

Mpumalanga last held a conference in 2015, and efforts to hold it in 2019 failed. There were concerns over violence that marred general branch meetings. 

Some of the province's branches failed to qualify to attend the conference because they had failed to meet the requirements. 

The ANC members who took the party to court just hours ahead of the provincial conference were from an eMalahleni branch that had failed to qualify to attend. 

The High Court on Friday dismissed their last-minute bid to halt the conference. 

Delegates, including the provincial task team convenor Mandla Ndlovu, celebrated the court victory.

Lobbying intensifies 

After a four-hour delay, the conference got under way with Ndlovu delivering the political report. 

However, fierce lobbying was evident on the sidelines as those leading delegations counted the numbers.

Some branch delegates were allegedly pulling out of agreed-upon positions ahead of the conference. 

Ndlovu is said to be a strong backer of Ramaphosa, and endorsed him on a visit to the province in February.

He has been the acting chairperson of the province since former Mpumalanga leader David Mabuza's departure. 

Ndinisa is known for his close alignment to Mabuza, who still has great influence in the province. 

Several branches that News24 spoke to mentioned strong support for Ndlovu. These included regions such as Nkomazi, Nkangala and Hlanzeni, the province's most significant region. 

Ndlovu was cheered at the conference while accepting the nomination, along with his rival Ndinisa who also smiled as branches gave him a nod to lead the province. 

Nominations took place after midnight and voting took place after at 2:00. 

The announcement of the results was expected later on Saturday afternoon. 

Political report

While giving the province's political report, Ndlovu decried the state of the party's membership, saying unruly members were slowly being elected into leadership positions in the ANC. 

He warned that ANC decisions were final, especially concerning the step-aside resolution. 

Some party members in Mpumalanga have refused to step aside despite being criminally charged.

ALSO READ |  'ANC is facing an existential crisis': Concerned Mashatile warns of possible thumping in 2024 elections

"Comrades, certain members are defying decisions of the ANC in Mkhondo, Msukalingwa and Nkomazi municipalities and other areas. There is a clear indication that our membership is not of the required quality. 

"It is now more dangerous because some of these leaders and poorly trained members are starting to take up leadership positions in the organisation and the state," Ndlovu told delegates.

ANC treasurer Paul Mashatile also raised concerns over infighting for positions when he opened the conference on Friday. 




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