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Ninth ANC KZN conference marred by delays

22 July 2022 - 12:43
The ninth ANC KwaZulu-Natal conference has been delayed due to delegates being held back by their regions.
The ninth ANC KwaZulu-Natal conference has been delayed due to delegates being held back by their regions.
Image: AMANDA KHOZA.

The ninth ANC KwaZulu-Natal conference, which was expected to start at 10am on Friday, has been delayed due to delegates not being released by their regions on time.

ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said: “Seemingly the delegates were delayed where they were sleeping. You can ask the regions why they are holding the delegates in their hotels.

“If you go to the operational centre where registration is taking place, we are waiting for delegates to come and collect their tags and go to the conference facility.”

However, TimesLIVE has also established that the Olive Convention Centre in Durban, where the conference is expected to sit this weekend, is too small to accommodate all the guests.

Ntombela said the province was ready “to start any time”.

“The challenge is with the regions. I cannot explain why the delegates are being held at the hotels. I am not sure whether they are still holding caucuses.”

He said the regions would have to answer why they were delaying the conference.

“All our systems are ready and on track and the national leadership has arrived. I have seen comrade Jeff Radebe so hopefully in two hours that could be the time we could start.”

When TimesLIVE arrived at the Olive Convention Centre the venue was relatively empty, with metro police officers manning the entrances. In the hall where the conference is sitting, some officials were conducting last-minute touches.

“This venue can accommodate 1,350 but the sitting arrangement is about 1,400, but there were disputes from regions. We are adding more tables so we can accommodate more people,” a source told TimesLIVE.

On Thursday, briefing the media at the ANC provincial offices, KwaZulu-Natal party secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli told the media he did not anticipate delays.

More than 1,600 voting delegates are expected to gather to elect new leadership.

PODCAST | A province run by personal politics - what to expect from the ANC KZN conference

The only structures which are not in good standing regarding their terms of office are the three leagues of the ANC, namely the Youth League, the Women’s League and the Veterans League
KZN ANC secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli

“We are not anticipating major problems,” Ntuli said on Thursday.

The conference, initially scheduled to sit on July 15 and 17, was delayed by one week because the province wanted to accommodate more branches to participate and ensure branches that were directed to rerun their branch general meetings (BGMs) had enough time to do so.

“We did not want a situation that by the time the conference sits, we are contaminated by complaints or disputes emanating from branches saying they were not considered or given enough time,” said Ntuli.

Three branches have taken their matters to the party's national disputes resolution committee, but Ntuli said whatever happens with those branches is immaterial to the composition of the conference.

“We expect the registration to be very seamless tomorrow. In all 11 regions where registration has taken place, we have not been made aware of major challenges or disputes,” he said.

“We are the biggest province in the ANC in terms of its membership. They are all in good standing and are bringing delegates to the conference. The only structures which are not in good standing regarding their terms of office are the three leagues of the ANC, namely the Youth League, the Women’s League and the Veterans League.

“We are expecting 1,617 voting delegates to come to the provincial conference, which is a combination of branch delegates and delegates representing the leagues of the ANC, the provincial executive committee (PEC) and representatives of the regional executive committee.”

“We have conducted pre-registration processes in all regions and today we are registering members of the PEC, non-voting delegates, the leagues and regional executive committee members.”

Ntuli said name tags were printed on Thursday.

“The report we received this morning indicates at least 95% of our branch delegates have been registered. Tomorrow morning between 7am and 9am we have set up that side for delegates to collect their name tags and sign the register that will be converted into credentials and the voters’ roll at the conference.”

It remains unclear whether President Cyril Ramaphosa will attend the conference as he is expected to host Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara for a state visit on Friday.

Ntuli said Luthuli House informed the province the conference will officially be opened by acting ANC secretary-general Paul Mashatile.

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