DURBAN - THE ANC’s Luthuli House staff’s indefinite strike could further delay the party’s regional conferences.
This was the view of eThekwini regional task team co-ordinator Bheki Ntuli, who told the Daily News on Sunday that none of the branches sat over the weekend because of the unresolved pay dispute between Luthuli House and its workers.
Ntuli said they had planned to sit 12 branches at the weekend in a bid for the party to reach the 70% threshold required before holding regional conferences.
He said that unlike before, branch meetings were directly linked to the head office after the new membership system was introduced to avoid corruption, adding that it was head office staff who would permit the meeting to start after the scanner at the head office had confirmed that the quorum had been met.
“Our fear is that the indefinite strike at our head office will further delay our regional conferences.
“We were hoping the matter would be resolved by now, but it looks like the treasurer-general’s office and the staff were unable to find one another,” said Ntuli.
The long-awaited eThekwini conference was expected to sit at the end of the month, but the strike may delay it. The region has only managed to sit 66 branches out of 110; it needs at least 78 in order to reach a quorum. This means the region is still lagging behind by 12 branches.
Power in the country’s biggest region is being fiercely contested by Radical Economic Transformation forces who are pinning their hopes on former mayor Zandile Gumede, while the moderates are betting on former President Cyril Ramaphosa lobbyist Thabani Nyawose to take the region before the national conference in December.
Nyawose strongly campaigned for Ramaphosa to be elected as party president in the 54th national conference in 2017.
Although in his slate there are those who were on Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s NDZ slate, it is expected that if Nyawose wins, the region would back Ramaphosa and also pronounce its preferences for the provincial conference that is expected to sit in five months’ time.
On the other hand, Gumede’s camp has yet to find a presidential candidate, but the camp’s spokesperson, Ntando Khuzwayo, said they would not rush things as they were focusing on winning eThekwini first. Other regions in the province that have yet to hold their conferences include Lower South Coast in Port Shepstone, which the Daily News understands is expected to sit this coming weekend. The others are the Mzala Nxumalo region, which includes Vryheid, Ulundi, Nongoma and Pongola; Inkosi Bhambatha, which includes Dundee, Greytown, Msinga and Nquthu; Musa Dladla, which incorporates Richards Bay, eMpangeni, Nkandla, Eshowe and Melmoth; as well as Harry Gwala, which includes Kokstad, Mzimkhulu, Ixopo and Bulwer.