The big rush to get ready

Con­fer­ences must be held be­fore ANC’s pro­vin­cial gath­er­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - WARDA MEYER

ANC RE­GIONS in the Western Cape are scram­bling to get their house in or­der ahead of their re­gional con­fer­ences, but party in­sid­ers say it may be too late to meet the De­cem­ber 31 dead­line set by Luthuli House for the party to hold its pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence.

To­day two of the six ANC re­gions, Over­berg and West Coast, are set to hold their elec­tive con­fer­ences, and two oth­ers plan to hold them next week­end.

No dates have been set for the South­ern Cape re­gion and the Dul­lah Omar (Cape Town) re­gion, where staff have been work­ing over­time to set up their con­fer­ence by the mid­dle of this month.

In ter ms of party pol­icy, 70 per­cent of branches must have had their re­gional con­fer­ences be­fore a pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence can be held.

Af­ter dis­band­ing the pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive and giv­ing a re­place­ment task team a May dead­line to or­gan­ise a pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence, the party’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee ex­tended the prov­ince’s dead­line to De­cem­ber 31.

But in­sid­ers doubt the prov­ince will be ready to hold its con­fer­ence this month, and said it might have to be post­poned un­til next year.

The ANC won 47 per­cent of the pop­u­lar vote in the prov­ince in 2004.

The ANC’s Western Cape spokesman, Mandla Dlamini, said the Dul­lah Omar and Souther n Cape re­gions had been au­dited and, al­though no dates had been fi­nalised, the re­gions should be able to hold their re­gional con­fer­ences by De­cem­ber 16.

“There is a lot of progress as the branch an­nual gen­eral meet­ings are hap­pen­ing ev­ery day,” he said.

But party loy­al­ists have warned that deep di­vi­sions re­main in the pro­vin­cial party, and that the West Coast re­gion meet­ing to­day could be par­tic­u­larly fraught.

Mem­bers, who asked not to be named, said racial rifts were ev­i­dent in the names be­ing punted for the po­si­tion of pro­vin­cial chair­man.

Deputy Min­is­ter of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion Mar­ius Frans­man has the sup­port of most of the ru­ral, mainly Afrikaans-speak­ing, re­gions out­side the city, while Mce­bisi Sk­wat­sha, the con­tro­ver­sial for mer pro­vin­cial leader, is pop­u­lar in both the Dul­lah Omar re­gion and the South­ern Cape.

Other names be­ing bandied about in­clude those of Lwan­dle councillor Xolani So­tashe for pro­vin­cial deputy chair­man.

For the post of sec­re­tary, the names of for­mer Western Cape ANC trea­surer Songezo Mjongile and Sihle Moon have been sug­gested, and Western Cape jus­tice head, Hishaam Mohamed, for the deputy sec­re­tary po­si­tion.

PIC­TURE: JEF­FREY ABRAHAMS

POP­U­LAR: Mce­bisi Sk­wat­sha.

PIC­TURE: BRENTON GEACH

RU­RAL SUP­PORT: Mar­ius Frans­man

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