Mzwandile Masina set for narrow win as ANC Ekurhuleni chair with 19 disputed votes to determine outcome
Preliminary results from the ANC Ekurhuleni conference show Mzwandile Masina has clinched a third term as regional chair.
The provisional results announced at the conference held at Indaba Hotel in Fourways show Masina narrowly won by 163 votes, beating his rival Doctor Xhakaza, who received 151 votes.
A total of 19 votes have been set aside over disputes relating to the authenticity of branches.
It is expected the disputes will be cleared and the votes counted by Wednesday and the final results declared.
The results could go either way, with Masina expecting four of the 19 votes to be in his favour.
Masina and his grouping believe those results will not change the outcome.
They believe four votes will be disqualified, leaving the Xhakaza grouping with at least 11 votes to take their numbers to 162.
Speaking to TimesLIVE after the announcement of the results, Masina said his win was further proof people continue to have confidence in him.
“I feel humbled by the membership of the ANC, that they still have confidence in me to lead them for the term. I don’t take it easily. I know my first duty is to make sure we unite the ANC,” Masina said.
The narrow margin which Masina has provisionally won is indicative of a leader slowly losing power in his region.
His political opponent Xhakaza is his former ally and former MMC in Masina’s cabinet.
The fallout with Xhakaza has weakened Masina’s stronghold in Ekurhuleni.
According to those supporting Xhakaza, the region lost support during Masina’s tenure which led to the ANC governing the city through a coalition since 2016.
The ANC in the region, according to Xhakaza’s supporters, further became unpopular, leading to them losing the metropolitan municipality to a DA-led coalition in the 2021 local government elections.
“This ultimately tells you the ANC is no longer in capable hands, so we need to change it and renew it. We need to put in other people,” said Matsobane Chuene.
He said they decided to have Xhakaza challenge Masina to change the status quo, and have someone who knows governance lead the province.
“We wanted change. We don’t want someone to run for a third term. We had the greatest leaders like Thabo Mbeki who didn’t succeed in running for a third term,” Chuene said.
Masina’s victory strengthens the Adiwele grouping ahead of the Gauteng provincial conference.
Masina’s ally Lebogang Maile is expected to contest for the provincial chair next month, going head-to-head with deputy chair Panyaza Lesufi.
Lesufi’s backers were victorious in the Sedibeng regional conference which was also sitting at the weekend.
The battle lines will be drawn when the Johannesburg region sits next weekend. Tshwane is also expected to be a big contest.
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