A CAMPAIGN to boot out Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Zanoxolo Wayile received a major boost at the weekend as re-elected regional chairman Nceba Faku openly lobbied for branches to accept the call to show Wayile the door.
Faku was chosen unopposed on Friday after Wayile, who was also a front-runner, dramatically pulled out minutes before he was to be officially nominated.
The re-election is a boost for President Jacob Zuma’s bid for a second term as Faku leads an influential region in the Eastern Cape.
In his political report at the conference on Friday, Faku said a major reshuffle of the mayoral committee was necessary if the party wanted to build up its strength and win the 2014 elections.
“The current situation of our deployment is a huge liability to the ANC in this region,” he said to loud applause. “It would be extremely suicidal for the ANC in this region to go into the 2014 elections with the current crop of our deployees untampered with.”
He said the current stand-off between City Hall and ANC regional office at Standard House could not be tolerated any further.
“We must have strong but loyal deployees, especially in the offices of executive mayor, deputy executive mayor, speaker and chief whip,” Faku told delegates.
Wayile and deputy mayor Nancy Sihlwayi were also booted out of the regional executive committee and replaced by Chippa Ngcolomba and Joy Seale.
Meanwhile, regional leaders need to get permission from provincial bosses to fire Wayile.
So far, provincial leaders have resisted the calls, opting rather to intervene to resolve the stand-off.
But with the conference seemingly supporting the move, it could be just a matter of time before provincial leaders give in to the pressure.
In the end, Wayile walked out of the conference on Friday and did not return for the rest of proceedings on Saturday and yesterday.
The proceedings sparked outrage from Wayile supporters, who also walked out.
Some of his other supporters gathered at Kuyga Intermediate School – close to the venue at St Albans conference centre – hoping to reduce the number needed to reach a quorum. “Branches refuse to go to the conference controlled by people who do not belong there,” a senior ANC member said.
“Many delegates there were hand-picked by the regional secretary for their own ambitions.”
A Wayile supporter shouted: “We can’t believe the conference of the ANC has been reduced to this.”
She then walked to the parking lot.
The group also protested outside the venue on Saturday.
Wayile said yesterday: “I joined the conference at around 4pm on Friday but I was told my membership form could not be found and therefore I was not an ANC member.
“I was sent from pillar to post until, thankfully, [ANC national chairman] Baleka Mbete intervened and said the issue must be sorted out.”
Wayile said he and his supporters planned to appeal to provincial leaders to look into the validity of the conference.
“I have been to provincial conferences; I was at the regional general council last year; I entered these meetings with no qualms. I serve as the executive mayor. How is it possible I am not a member of the ANC?” Wayile said.
Regional secretary Zandisile Qupe dismissed Wayile’s claims, saying “he was at the conference, he registered, he had a tag, you saw him sitting on the stage, but he left after the credentials were adopted and he did not come back.
“He did not send an apology or an explanation,” Qupe said.