The issue of the disputed Eastern Cape elective conference took centre stage at the ANC national executive committee (NEC) gathering in Irene, near Pretoria yesterday, leading to the meeting being adjourned while the top leadership met behind closed doors.
At issue was the report tabled by secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, which was heavily criticised by some NEC members, arguing that it did not fully account for what happened in the Eastern Cape, where Oscar Mabuyane was elected as provincial chairman last month.
As a result, the NEC decided that the party’s 20-member working committee (NWC) should meet and refine their report of what they found when they visited the province.
This followed the chaotic conference – where political rivals fought, with chairs flying in the air, leading to some delegates being treated in hospital – at which Phumulo Masualle was defeated.
A team of NEC members who oversaw the conference – including Zizi Kodwa, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Lindiwe Zulu – decided that it should go ahead despite the violence.
The NEC meeting is crucial as it will take a final decision to determine whether Mabuyane’s leadership remains in office or if the structure should be disbanded.
The NEC meeting was meant to resume at 4pm yesterday and receive a full account on the state of the Eastern Cape.
Several sources confirmed that Mantashe’s office came in for very harsh criticism for tabling a report on the Eastern Cape conference which lacked detail.
“In fact, our view was that the report was very similar to a report the NEC got from the newly elected Eastern Cape PEC,” an NEC member said, suggesting that Mantashe was biased in favour of Mabuyane.
The only difference between Mantashe’s report and the one submitted by Mabuyane’s PEC, the source said, was the conclusion.
“We had to reject the report and ask the NWC to sit again on Sunday and redo the report,“the NEC member said.
The dispute over the ANC arose after Masualle wrote a letter to Mantashe’s office complaining about the credentials of the conference. The letter was co-signed by several former PEC members including Sakhumzi Somyo.
This led to the ANC top six inviting all the affected parties to a meeting at Luthuli House and subsequently in Cape Town to listen to the disputes.
A decision was taken that the NWC, led by Jacob Zuma, would visit all the regions in the province to hear from the branches.
The outcome of the NEC meeting was not available at the time of going to print.