The race for the leadership of the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay region is intensifying, with two leaders from Cosatu and the SACP well poised to challenge former mayor and present ANC regional chairperson Nceba Faku.
The conference to elect a new regional executive committee is scheduled for May and Faku seems to have garnered sufficient support from the branches to serve for another term.
One influential group within the ANC alliance is the ANC Youth League which has thrown its weight behind Faku’s group.
One of the contesting candidates, Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile, who also serves as the party’s deputy chairperson, had earlier lashed out at the ANCYL for being tools of Faku.
This because the party’s regional headquarters in Standard House were pushing for Wayile to step down as mayor, accusing him of defying instructions from the regional executive committee.
The battle for the position of the ruling party leader in the Mandela Bay, which is historically the ANC’s stronghold, is already being fought at branch general conferences, which were be held in all the 60 wards.
One of those contesting for the position is portfolio education chairperson in the Bhisho legislature, Mzoleli Mrara, who enjoys support of the SACP and Cosatu – but few ANC branches have been won to his side. One group in the SACP and Cosatu was opposed to Mrara contesting the position.
“The race for regional chair is now a four-man race. But it is doubtful whether those backed by Cosatu and the SACP would unseat Faku,” said a SACP leader, who did not want his name to be mentioned.
Other figures who have emerged from within the group of concerned ANC veterans includes former party regional chairperson Mike Xego and ANC leader in Walmer, Themba Mangqase.
In a bid to dislodge Faku was former transport MEC Thobile Mhlahlo, whose strategy depended on whether Faku was arrested and charged for being implicated in massive fraud and corruption, as revealed in the Kabuso Forensic Report.
The report has been handed to the Hawks for criminal action against the political figures implicated.
“We want action against Faku. His being implicated in the report means he should face the law,” said Mhlahlo.
However, the block made up of SACP and Cosatu that wants to unseat Faku has not come out in the open in outlining its plan to remove the man who has become so powerful and mostly feared by his opponents.
Faku’s powerful influence and apparent invincibility was made apparent during the ANC regional general council in St Albans Prison conference centre last year, when he effectively thrashed any views from those opposed to his leadership. An inside party source said Faku’s group could do the same in the coming conference.
So far, Wayile, who has confirmed his candidature for the position of the ANC regional chairperson, appears to be the only figure that could challenge and unseat Faku.