The failure by newly elected Gauteng Chairperson Panyaza Lesufi to win all the top five positions at the party’s recent conference gives the losing contender, Lebogang Maile, an indication that he is in with a chance to control the provincial executive committee (PEC).
The hotly contested conference to vote for and fill the top five positions might be a thing of the past, but the fight for the control of the PEC between Lesufi and Maile is turning out to be a battle for survival. After the conference adjourned, the two lobby groups wasted no time in starting a campaign for more representation in the PEC.
Lesufi defeated Maile by 32 votes at the provincial conference held in Benoni last week. His slate won three positions, while the Maile-aligned group got two.
With TK Nciza and his deputy Tasneem Motara holding the secretary and deputy secretary positions respectively, Maile seems to have a share of control in the top five. But this is still under threat, as the 14 withheld Ekurhuleni votes are still a burning issue.
The national executive committee (NEC) failed to resolve this issue, which began at the Ekurhuleni regional conference. The party has been discussing whether to include the votes or disqualify them.
The five branches whose votes were withheld threatened to go to court if they were not included. They claimed to have evidence that more branches failed to comply with certain requirements.
ANC stalwart Jeff Radebe, who was deployed to try to help resolve the contentious votes issue, discovered that 22 more branches did not comply with the process of scanning memberships during their general meetings.
Lesufi’s slate is counting on getting some of those votes to win the other two positions.
Some delegates told City Press they were confident that 11 out of the 14 were in Lesufi’s favour, which could turn the conference on its head since Nciza won by only nine votes and Motara by five. They are aligned with Maile.
After the election results were announced, ANC acting secretary Paul Mashatile hailed the top five as the most representative leadership, as it features three women.
He said the new provincial leadership was no longer leading groups, but rather the ANC.
“The newly elected people must unite the organisation [and lead it to the 2024 polls,” Mashatile said.
But that unity will be tested when the party convenes at the provincial general council (PGC) next week where additional members will be elected.
The conference is scheduled to hold discussions on the unresolved dispute of the Ekurhuleni votes, which is threatening to divide the party.
Lesufi told the media on Tuesday that the top five elected members had already met to formulate the discussion document at the PGC.
“The issue of the quarantined [withheld] votes will be ventilated there as per the instruction of the national executive committee and the outgoing PEC,” the new chairperson said.
But the conference’s failure to elect additional PEC members gives the two lobby groups no time to rest, as campaigning continues.
The two lobby groups are hoping to have more numbers in the PEC, which will determine who has the power to run the province.
RADEBE’S LUKEWARM EKURHULENI FINDINGS
But Radebe’s tip-toeing around the disputed Ekurhuleni votes has compounded matters instead of providing a solution.
This has led to the matter being shelved – once again – until the PGC meeting next week. He found that the delegates – whose 19 votes had been withheld – from five ANC branches had been reasonably disqualified from participating in the Ekurhuleni regional elective conference held in May in Fourways in Johannesburg, but many more delegates should have suffered the same fate.
But Radebe, who the ANC top six leaders at Luthuli House had delegated to investigate the dispute and offer a solution, shied away from making a bold recommendation that the re-election of former Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina should therefore be set aside.
Instead, he opted to leave the final decision to the ANC top six.
“The national office bearers should evaluate the consequences of the branches that exceeded the 10% manual threshold, and also look into the status of the regional conferences, as it seems that more branches exceeded the quota and yet participated in the conference,” Radebe wrote in his report, which City Press has seen.
The 10% threshold refers to a conference preparation guideline, providing that, once the electronic membership scanner had been operational for more than four hours, it should be switched off. Thereafter, not more than 10% of the audited members should be captured manually.
Last week, the top six referred the matter to the party’s NEC, which in turn left it for the new PEC elected last week to solve.
The five Ekurhuleni ANC branches were disqualified on the grounds that their manual scanning membership audits exceeded the 10% threshold.
However, the records showed that the reasons for disqualifying at least one of the branches, ward 44, were not formally recorded. The other disqualified wards were 40, 56, 106 and 50.
“It is clear there were other branches that exceeded the 10% threshold as indicated in the scanner report as presented by the ward 50 branch,” wrote Radebe, who led the investigating team that included Boitumelo Moloi and Derek Hanekom.