Nelson Mandela Bay ANC councillor Andile Lungisa has withdrawn from the race for the regional chairmanship after a discussion with ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, he said.
He claimed he was threatened with disciplinary action should he defy Mantashe’s earlier instruction that members of the ANC’s provincial executive committee not be allowed to contest for the regional leadership.
“He [Mantashe] threatened me with disciplinary action, so I have addressed my forces. They still want me to but I won’t stand,” Lungisa said.
This contradicted what he told journalists earlier when he vowed to fight Mantashe’s directive.
Mantashe could not be reached for comment on Saturday afternoon.
Lungisa’s withdrawal from the race has paved the way for ANC member Mtwabo Ndube who insiders said also had strong support.
ANC MPL Tony Duba is also expected to contest the chairmanship.
A conference delegate who supports Lungisa, but didn’t want to be named said: “We decided on asking Ndube to stand because if we go ahead with Lungisa we will give Gwede a chance to come and disband us and put in his people.”
By 5:30pm the nominations for the regional top five positions had not yet started. Credentials were adopted by 5pm.
Earlier on in the day, opening the second day’s proceedings, ANC national spokesman, Zizi Kodwa lashed out at ANC leaders who criticised each other in public, saying it only aids the opposition parties.
“It’s like attacking President [Jacob] Zuma, with elections coming, then you call him to a rally because he is the face of the party.
“Then you tell people to vote for Zuma, people won’t believe you because you were attacking him last week,” said Kodwa.<
Regional task team convener, Vuyani Limba, who addressed delegates on Friday night, also spoke out against factions in the party and said it was because of factions that ANC lost Nelson Mandela Bay during the local government elections.
“The ANC councillors in all ANC Wards must work closely with branches to address the ills of the society. Fighting amongst ourselves will not assist the ANC and the communities we claim to represent.
“The people will stay at home during elections and refrain from supporting the ANC in the polls if we continue with internal fights,” Limba said.
The congress has been marred by several delays and the programme has changed continuously.
The nominations and voting for candidates is expected to continue well into the night.