Tension mounts for ANC leadership

Mthetho Ndoni

Mthetho Ndoni

Former Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor Nceba Faku is set to go toe-to-toe with outspoken Mike Xego for the position of regional chairman of the ANC.

Xego is deputy chairman and acting chairman of the ANC after the departure of Stone Sizani, who was elected the ANC's provincial party head last year. Xego is a former Robben Island prisoner and former member of the Eastern Cape legislature.

Faku said he definitely won't miss the race for chairmanship. Faku, a charismatic speaker is likely to face stiff competition from Xego, who is popular with the party's grassroots supporters who like him for his no-holds-barred style.

The tension is mounting in both camps as more than 50 branches are expected to attend the conference and choose between Faku or Xego from March 23 to 25 at the Algoa College of Education, Port Elizabeth.

The conference comes at a time when there have been protests and violence in some areas where the residents believe that the ANC councillors have failed to provide their communities with adequate services.

ANC regional secretary Vuyo Toto said there were many issues on the conference's agenda such as the decline in membership, the commitment of ANC members, the capability of ANC councillors and economic development issues.

"At least 45 of the branches, which were part of the provincial conference last year, are still active in taking up issues like poverty and problems affecting matric students and unemployment," Toto said.

Meanwhile the SACP and Cosatu regard Faku as the only person in the region who can provide strong leadership in the ANC.

There are also plans to get some of the region's well-known political activists from the 1980s to intensify the ANC Nelson Mandela Bay regional executive.

They are Sanco's Mike Nzothoyi, council speaker Charmaine Williams, former Uitenhage Youth Congress president Wonga Nkala and former Numsa leader Bicks Ndoni.