The ANC is deeply concerned that it might lose the Eastern Cape to a coalition of the UDM and Congress of the People (Cope) in next year's elections.
Yesterday, as the ANC NEC was wrapping up a three-day meeting in Johannesburg, NEC member and national campaigns organiser Fikile Mbalula was tasked with overseeing the election of a new regional task team for the Amathole region in East London, which has almost 52000 registered members.
The Amathole executive committee was chaired by Mluleki George before he quit to become Cope's national organiser.
Last week the ANC moved to disband the REC and replace it with a task team that Mbalula yesterday refused to name.
"The names of the task team members are not an issue," Mbalula said.
ANC president Jacob Zuma will be in Eastern Cape from December 11 to 14 to whip up support ahead of the launch of Cope on December 16.
Cope is expected to attract a large chunk of ANC supporters from the older generation in Eastern Cape, who are disgruntled with Youth League leader Julius Malema's statements that he would "kill for Zuma".
But Mbalula slammed reports that he had been forced to spend the weekend in Eastern Cape doing door to door lobbying.
"That's nonsense," he said. "We do door-to-door all the time. Only MPs based in Eastern Cape, less than 20, were here.
"The ANC will never lose Eastern Cape."
But Daily Dispatch reports that Cope has launched five regional structures in the province, and two more will follow this week.