Durban — The much-anticipated KwaZulu-Natal ANC conference has been postponed due to a failure by branches to meet the required threshold.
This was confirmed by the party’s provincial spokesperson, Nhlakanipho Ntombela on Wednesday, who said the branches had not yet met the required 70% threshold, which in terms of the party’s constitution must be met in order for the conference to proceed.
Although Ntombela did not give details, he said that the new date for the conference would be July 22.
According to sources in the party, the eThekwini region reportedly had less than 50 branches that could elect office-bearers.
The conference, which is to elect new leadership, was scheduled to take place from July 15 to 17.
Last week eThekwini regional secretary Musa Nciki told the Daily News that his region intended to request an extension until this weekend to hold the remaining branch meetings, saying they were lagging behind with only 40 branches out of 106 qualifying for the conference.
He cited the April floods as the main reason the regional branches were unable to meet and nominate delegates, saying his leadership was now banking on the extension it would request from the provincial leadership.
“Yes it is true, we are lagging behind, but people must understand that we only started sitting at our branches towards the end of May because our region was hit by the devastating floods.
“We hope the provincial leadership will consider those factors and give us an extension because it was a natural disaster that prevented us from meeting, as some areas were not accessible to members. Some were mourning the deaths of their loved ones while others were still searching for their missing family members,” said Nciki last week.
Ntombela said for the extension to be granted, it would depend on other regions, saying it could only be granted if the threshold had not been met.
He said if the branch nominations from the other 10 regions combined made the 70% threshold cut, there would be no extension for one region.
The contest for the all-powerful position of chairperson is widely expected to be between Premier Sihle Zikalala, Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube and businessman Sandile Zungu, along with former KZN government director-general Nhlanhla Ngidi, among others.
The postponement means fierce lobbying within the regions will continue as regions push for their candidates to be in the influential top five or at least be in the provincial executive committee, which increases opportunities of being elected as MECs or to senior positions in the cabinet.