ANC EC power tussle turns ugly

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FROM the chaos that characterised the ANC Eastern Cape elective conference, voting continued yesterday and Oscar Mabuyane was elected as the party’s new chairperson.

This follows as the previous night violence erupted at the conference, leaving several delegates injured. Some delegates claimed non-members attempted to participate in proceedings while other legitimate members had been barred from the conference.

It’s understood the barring of members and the voting which continued despite the disruptions formed the basis of an urgent court application to nullify the conference.

Outgoing provincial chairperson Phumulo Masualle said: “We tend to make out the ANC as not the democratic organisation that it is. We never find this odd in another organisation when there is a contestation of positions, but when it is the ANC we then act as if there’s something that is untoward. The ANC is a democratic organisation,” Masualle said.

Mabuyane, the reigning chair, will now preside over the ANC Eastern Cape which is in a shambles, given that the conference had to be delayed several times due to a court case involving the OR Tambo region.

Two aggrieved members had failed to convince the high court in Mthatha to nullify the party’s OR Tambo regional election of 2015 on the grounds of irregularities. Meanwhile, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa smoked the piece pipe when he became the closing speaker at the conference.

He had to leave the ANC NEC to address what had been a violent conference. On his way to the hospital where eight delegates had been hospitalised after the election brawl, Ramaphosa turned back when he was informed the delegates had been discharged.

With the audience singing pro-Ramaphosa struggle songs, he told delegates that unity must return to the party and pleaded with all factions to remember the ideals of Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela.

“The coming elective conference will be closely watched by the world and our country, we will not disappoint. I know that you’re ready for the conference,” he said.

Ramaphosa’s VIP protection looked to be on alert with the host venue‚ undergoing a detailed security surveillance by the SAPS‚ assisted by members of the VIP protection unit before his arrival. The security detail is under police commissioner Maj-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga.

ANC provincial spokesperson Mlibo Qoboshiyane confirmed that the numbers inside were indeed more than those of delegates that were expected. “This may have been caused by some branches who did not return the tags that had been confirmed as nullified.”

Qoboshiyane admitted that the ANC had on Friday underestimated the need for tight security as they had to consider the hotel’s obligation to comfortably house other guests who were not part of the conference‚ but have since made arrangements.

Mabuyane said the claims of bogus delegates were being peddled from within the ANC itself.

“We thought, let’s be thorough and detailed during verification for the sake of the ANC’s integrity because even the people who are peddling this narrative, the kind of perceptions about bogus delegates, are ANC members themselves, some are leaders,” he said.

   REFILWE MAGASHULE  news@thenewage.co.za

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