The ANC says that its regional conference in Nelson Mandela Bay may now only take place in 2017, having been postponed several times last year, and again in January.
This is according to the ruling party’s Eastern Cape secretary, Oscar Mabuyane, as reported by News24.
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is expected to be one of the most hotly-contested ‘major metros’ in the upcoming elections, scheduled to take place anytime after May.
Registrations for the elections take place on the 5-6 March already.
Mabuyane said that although they had managed to arrive at the required 70% of general branch meetings, the party needs to focus solely on the local elections.
“We have taken a decision to review our earlier position because of the time frame. We are now hard at work for the local elections. The conference may take place at the end of December,” he told News24.
Mabuyane said the conference had been postponed several times last year because they had not met the 70% branch requirement to conduct the regional conference.
“The region has made 70% of its branch meetings, but when you have disputes, you must resolve disputes. There is an issue of verification post branch general meetings, then after it normally takes us three months to prepare for the regional conference.
“You can see that does not give us time to prepare for the local elections which is why the Provincial Executive Committee has decided to hold [of with] the conference.”
The ANC is scheduled to launch its national manifesto in Port Elizabeth in April, a sign that it believes it is under threat there.
The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has seen ANC support decline over the years, with the party winning by a small margin of 51.9% against the DA’s 40.1% in 2011.
In the 2014 National the ANC only won 49.2% of the vote, while DA support remained fairly stable around 40.2%.
Finances a mess
Eyewitness News noted that Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s finances are a mess, citing irregularities exposed in a report by the Auditor-General (AG).
The AG reported in June last year that the Eastern Cape had the most ‘transgressions’ in the country with as many as 15 municipalities including 15, including Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and Buffalo City Metro,
The AG report noted that in Nelson Mandela Bay alone, R2.6 billion is unaccounted for, R1.3 billion has been mismanaged and a further R146 million has been written off as fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
The R2 billion Bus Rapid Transit system in the metro is also currently under investigation by National Treasury.
A recent poll by Ipsos showed both the DA and the ANC losing support in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
According to a report by the City Press, the results of the survey showed that:
- 43.4% would vote for the ANC;
- 31.8% would vote for the DA;
- 2.1% would vote for the United Democratic Movement (UDM);
- 7.4% said they would vote for a party other than the ANC or DA;
- 15.3% are unsure of who they will vote for..
The survey was conducted between September and October 2015, where 974 adults above the age of 18 were interviewed in the metro about who they would vote for in the upcoming elections.
While the survey provides some indication of thinking around leadership in the metro, the results also imply that much of the province is undecided.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane has said that the DA will focus on Nelson Mandela Bay in the elections, having launched its campaign in Port Elizabeth in September.