Port Elizabeth – The Eastern Cape ANC could elect new leaders before the end of the year, its provincial leader said on Thursday.
The auditing of branches had begun and the party’s regional conference was expected to take place in November, Mlibo Qoboshiyane told News24.
Divisions in the region led to President Jacob Zuma disbanding its regional executive committee in 2015 and appointing a task team to take over. Years of factional battles had weakened the party.
Qoboshiyane said factionalism had been stopped.
However, prominent ANC members in the region said a power battle between two groups, led by ANC councillors Andile Lungisa and Tony Duba, could lead to the party’s demise.
“There was a silent war in the Nelson Mandela Bay which the media did not cover before the elections, when we thought we would go into a regional conference,” said one branch leader who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The DA took control of Nelson Mandela Bay after the August 3 local government elections.
“We have two groups and each is scrambling for power,” the branch leader said.
“It’s a scary time, but we cannot let greed and political ambitions take us back to that terrible time of ANC factions in the region. Branches are divided on who will take over.”
Qoboshiyane said the party had challenges in region, but was working hard to prepare branches for the conference. Branches could start to lobby for their preferred candidates.
Lungisa and Duba were vying for the position of provincial ANC chairperson. Former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Danny Jordaan was apparently being punted as Lungisa’s deputy. Dube’s deputy was expected to be ANC councilor Wandisile Jikeka.
A member of Lungisa’s camp said Dube had failed to lobby branches to vote for him.
“So far it looks like Lungisa will take over the reins and he seems to carry favour in most branches, but we cannot dismiss Dube as a strong player.”
Lungisa denied claims that there were factions in the region. In Nelson Mandela Bay the ANC’s structures had a common programme and vision to return the party to power, he said.
“People are united,” Lungisa told News24.