Eric Naki

Eric Naki

An intense rivalry, manifested in allegiances to two different ANC leaders, is scuttling a province's attempts to organise itself for its regional party conference.

Northern Cape ANC rivals John Fikile Block and Neville Mompati are squaring up to each other again, but this time, instead of backing President Thabo Mbeki, Mompati is flying the colours of new ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema.

Mompati, the provincial secretary, is challenging incumbent chairman Block, who is firmly in the Jacob Zuma camp, for the chairmanship position in the run-up to the conference.

But the infighting between Block and Mompati is said to have demoralised party structures and the rivals have been accused of failing to organise regional conferences in the Siyanda and Namaqua areas, where factionalism has hit hardest.

Siyanda regional executive member Peace Ntuli, a Block loyalist, said the June 30 deadline set to hold the conferences was impossible to meet as none of the 42 branches in Siyanda had held their branch general meetings.

"We are disputing our memberships as branches of Siyanda region. Until this issue of membership is properly sorted out, we cannot go to the regional and provincial conferences," Ntuli said.

The fracas is compounded by the fact that the ANC Youth League in the province backs Saki Mofokeng, who lost to Malema in the Youth League election.