IN the face of reported divisions within its ranks, the ANC in Gauteng has called for unity and for branch leaders to support Premier Nomvula Mokonyane's government.
The party held a provincial general council at the weekend at which provincial chairperson Paul Mashatile called for discipline and unity.
But insiders have told Sowetan a power struggle involving factions led by Mashatile, Mokonyane and ANC Women's League president Angie Motshekga has divided the organisation and was slowing the pace of service delivery in the province.
The three factions are expected to battle for control of South Africa's economic hub during an elective conference next year.
Mashatile, who commands a faction involving powerful business leaders including the so-called Alex Mafia, is expected to run for a second term as provincial chairperson.
Sources suggest that Motshekga's group, which also includes ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga and local government minister Sicelo Shiceka, is expected to nominate Shiceka for provincial chairperson.
A member of the executive committee of the West Rand region said a so-called ANC renewal programme was wreaking havoc at municipal level, with pro-Mashatile councillors being "purged" to make way for Mokonyane's supporters.
"A lot of comrades from the same faction supported Mashatile and later Mokonyane. But this faction is now crumbling and there is a re-alignment of forces now that Mokonyane is challenging Mashatile for the throne," said the source.
"On the West Rand, the Motshekga group has been trying to remove the mayor so that the regional chairperson can take his job. The chief whip of the West Rand who supported Mashatile is also the subject of a witch hunt."
Yesterday ANC Gauteng spokesperson Nkenke Kekana said there were no divisions in the party.
"The provincial chairperson's call for unity should not be interpreted as an admission of the existence of divisions in the province.
"The provincial conference is 18 months away and our focus right now is on service delivery and strengthening our municipalities.
"We have already adopted a programme of action which includes the provincial leadership making interventions in all the municipalities to increase their capacity to deliver key services."