Most Bay branches in a rush to meet deadline, writes Nomazima Nkosi
ANC branches in Nelson Mandela Bay are rushing against time to nominate their preferred candidates to lead the troubled party come next month.
The Weekend Post spoke to leaders from the 45 branches in the city this week, 42 of which are accredited to attend the December elective conference in Gauteng. Of those, at least 10 branches had met by Wednesday.
With a deadline of November 15 for all branches to hold meetings, ANC regional secretary Themba Xathula said more branches were to hold meetings from tomorrow into next week. Nelson Mandela Bay is widely believed among ANC circles to be a stronghold for Dlamini-Zuma – in line with its regional leadership.
“Out of the branches that have voted, three have voted for Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma and only two have voted for Cyril Ramaphosa,” Xathula said in an interview this week.
However, of the branches leaders interviewed by Weekend Post, six said they had nominated Ramaphosa to lead the party, while four either did not want to comment or would not say whom they had nominated.
Uitenhage’s Ward 43 secretary Thembisile Gana said they had nominated Ramaphosa because they believed he was best suited to deal with the challenges of the ANC.
“There are many challenges facing the ANC, such as tribalism, among others,” Gana said. “Such matters need someone with experience. “The ANC prepares its leaders and yes it’s not automatic that a deputy president will be president but Cyril is not only focused on his home province but as he’s shown before, he is willing to come to Uitenhage to try to find resolution to issues affecting us,” Gana said.
Ward 44 treasurer Nomsa Booi said they wanted Ramaphosa, and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu as his deputy.
“It’s time for Zuma to step down now. “We ’ve lost a lot of members along the way [because of] wrong things. The decision was crystal clear for us because it’s time for Zuma to step down; he’s served two terms and it’s time he goes,” Booi said.
Ward 15 chairperson Ntombekaya Mtati and ward 34 branch secretary Felicia Lethese both said their branches had also nominated Ramaphosa for the presidency position.
Ward 44 deputy secretary Luzuko Ndamse said they had also nominated Ramaphosa.
“We’ve got faith in him and his credentials do him credit, which makes him the perfect candidate. “He’s a trade unionist and his leadership would mean the country was in capable hands”.
Branch 53 chairperson Nozipho Jodwana said their branch had voted for Ramaphosa “because he’s ready ”.
Leaders from wards 25, 26 and 47 all confirmed their branches had met and nominated candidates but they would not say who they had chosen.
Xathula said although there were 60 branches in the Bay, only 45 had been accredited to attend the national elective conference.
Ward 9 chairman Fuzile Grootboom, said his branch would not be meeting as it collapsed following the violent provincial conference in East London last month. Grootboom said members of the branch came from the conference divided and had not recovered since.
Ward 60 branch chairwoman Nomgqibelo Tyumbu said her branch had not made its nominations yet as they did not have the membership master list and therefore were not able to sit for their branch meeting.
“We’ve passed the audit for the national conference and the regional secretary is confused as to why we haven’t received the list yet,” Tyumbu said.
Xathula said he was aware some branches were still missing the master list but said the problem was being dealt with.
“There’s an issue with capturing the master list at [provincial headquarters] Calata House and the national leadership is aware of this,” Xathula said.
Xathula said he hoped the national executive committee would extend the closing date.
“They are meeting this weekend; they are aware of the issues we’re facing and we hope they will extend the date by at least three days,” Xathula said.