South Africa


ANC in Western Cape confident it will convene its elective conference in April after numerous postponements

ANC in Western Cape confident it will convene its elective conference in April after numerous postponements
Minister Fikile Mbalula. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti) | ANC Western Cape interim provincial committee convenor Lerumo Kalako. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Following countless postponements and delays, the ANC in the Western Cape is confident that it will hold its provincial conference in April to elect people to lead it towards the national elections.

ANC Western Cape is the only province yet to hold its elective conference after the Free State managed to convene in January when President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ally, Mxolisi Dukwana, was elected as chairperson.   

Two Western Cape regions, which include the party’s biggest region in terms of membership and population, the Dullah Omar Region in the Cape metro and the Southern Cape Region along the Garden Route, have not yet convened their regional conferences. 

The Dullah Omar Region is also without permanent leadership after it was disbanded following its failure to prove that it would be ready to hold its conference. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Leaderless and shedding votes, ANC’s embattled Dullah Omar Region races to fix its many problems” 

The current Interim Provincial Committee (IPC) was first established in 2019 following the disbanding of the ANC’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC). It was tasked with preparing the province to elect a PEC within the prescribed nine-month period but it failed to do so and had to be disbanded and reestablished a number of times.  

The ANC NEC last disbanded and reconstructed the IPC with the same members in August last year.  

Read more in Daily Maverick:Disgruntled ANC Boland members plan to nullify elective conference 

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula recently met with the Western Cape IPC to check its readiness to hold the provincial conference. Daily Maverick understands that the IPC suggested it would be ready to convene  next month but Mbalula was not convinced and recommended April.  

IPC convenor Lerumo Kalako confirmed that they had envisaged a date in March to convene, but Mbalula requested that they target April. 

“We currently do not have a concrete date,” Kalako said. “We met with the secretary-general and we are looking to hold the conference in the first week of April.”  

He added that Mbalula would be the one giving the go-ahead after the National Working Committee (NWC) was briefed and satisfied itself that everything is above board. The ANC’s NWC conducts the work of the ANC and ensures that provinces, regions, branches and all other ANC structures, such as parliamentary caucuses, carry out the decisions of the ANC. 

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For a conference to convene, branch general meetings must first be held and delegates appointed to attend the conference. The communiqué for these meetings is expected to come from Mbalula’s office.  

So far, the current leader in the provincial Parliament, Cameron Dugmore, has raised his hand for the chairperson position. He indicated that branches had asked him to stand and he had availed himself. He is a longtime ally of the ANC’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa.  

Commenting on the Dullah Omar Region, Kalako said the region was now ready to hold its regional conference. “They have reached the threshold required for holding a conference,” he said. 

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said a statement about Mbalula’s visit and the way forward would be released in due course.  

The party’s support in the Western Cape is at risk of declining further in the 2024 elections, as the Good party and the Patriotic Alliance (PA) are making inroads. The governing party in the province, the DA, is also making life difficult for the ANC, as it has since taking over in 2009. 

ANC support has been dipping — in the last national elections in the Western Cape in 2019, the ANC got just over 28% of the vote — down from 45.2% in 2004. The DA garnered 55.45% in 2019. 

During the build-up to the party’s December national elective conference, Kalako said factionalism was destroying the ANC in the province. He recalled the removal of then premier Ebrahim Rasool following the watershed 2007 Polokwane conference where Jacob Zuma was elected to lead the organisation. Allegations surfaced in 2005 that Rasool was colluding with journalists who wrote favourable articles about him, which played a part in his removal. DM


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