After being instrumental in drumming up regional support for the re-election of Oscar Mabuyane as ANC Eastern Cape chairperson, his allies from Dr WB Rubusana region have turned against each other over the position of regional chairperson.
Mabuyane’s longtime ally, businessman Lunga Nqam, had been a frontrunner for the position until recently, when lobbyists who put together their slate changed their tune and replaced him with Buffalo City Metro deputy mayor Princess Faku for the position of chairperson, leaving Nqam out in the cold.
The two worked tirelessly in ensuring that most of the branches in Dr WB Rubusana region endorsed the status quo of the provincial leadership with Mabuyane at the helm, and they had the majority of the 105 delegates from the region who were allowed to be part of the provincial conference this weekend.
They sat side by side during the court proceedings when the region was interdicted from holding its conference, and when there was an attempt to prevent it from participating in the provincial conference.
Faku has also positioned herself as a close ally to Mabuyane, accompanying him to most government official events and political activities in the region, filling the vacuum created by the absence of Buffalo City mayor, Xola Pakati, who did not show allegiance in the rivalry between Mabuyane and Babalo Madikizela in the run-up to the provincial conference.
It is believed that Faku’s ultimate goal, and of those who are drumming up support for her bid, is to replace Pakati as mayor once the regional conference is concluded.
She resigned as ANC MP in November last year to avail herself for the BCM mayoral position but lost to Pakati, partly because of his experience as the incumbent.
Winning the highest political position in the region will place Faku in a far better position than Pakati because he holds no position in the party structures, and has not shown any support for the ANC provincial leadership, while Faku campaigned vigorously for its victory.
Asked for comment, Faku declined.
However, Nqam described her acceptance to run against him as backstabbing and betrayal of the branches. He said he is not going to back down, even if it means both of them lose to the rival camp.
Nqam said: “Why should I back down and allow them to push me aside when the majority of branches nominated me to be chairperson? I have not betrayed anyone and I will not be betraying branches that nominated me to lead the region because of certain greedy and power-hungry individuals.”
On the other hand, Mabuyane said “it is up to the comrades in the region to find each other”, as he and the ANC provincial leadership cannot dictate how the region and its branches choose leaders.
“Lobbying is still going on until the conference starts. I believe comrades will find each other as they started their process without us telling them who to elect as their leader.”
The region was interdicted from holding its conference last month by the group of party supporters led by Ondela Sokomani this was after discovering several irregular branch meetings where it was found that some ANC members who were registered to attend were deceased, in prison or absent from a meeting.
Sokomani said that not all the outstanding issues had been resolved but they were, still weighing up their options.
However, ANC provincial secretary Lulama Ngcuka-yitobi said there were no outstanding matters.