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ANC, DA postpone conferences amid coronavirus fears

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The DA policy conference has been postponed, along with ANC BGM meetings.

Durban – The DA and ANC have announced postponements to scheduled party events because of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national disaster as positive infections jumped over 60 just a week after confirming the country’s first case. 

The DA said on Monday morning that it would postpone its policy conference which was billed for April. It has been shelved in the wake of government banning gatherings of more than 100 people.

Helen Zille, the DA’s Federal Council chairperson said the federal executive (FedEx) had resolved to use this opportunity to trial technology-based conferencing, for identified aspects of the policy discussions. 

“The FedEx has also resolved that the party will abide strictly by the guidelines for meetings and other forms of social and professional interaction outlined by the president last night. A decision on the Federal Congress that was due to take place on 30 and 31 May will be taken at a later stage with the proviso that it must be held after the policy conference,” Zille said in a statement.

In KZN, the ANC was about to start holding branch general meetings in five regions including eThekwini, the party has resolved to follow suit and postpone the meetings. 

Subsequently the five regional conferences in eThekwini, General Gizenga Mpanza (Ilembe), Moses Mabhida (upper KZN Midlands), Lower South Coast and Josiah Gumede (Okhahlamba), which were due to start at the beginning of March have been shelved indefinitely.

The ANC KZN spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu said while the full details of their decision would be announced by the secretary general, Ace Magashule after a meeting of the party’s top brass on Monday in Johannesburg, they had no option but to follow suit. 

“We will also follow suit and do likewise (postpone our gatherings like others),” Mthembu told Independent Media on Monday. 

While it would be held later in July, the ANC’s much anticipated national general council (NGC) could also be shelved if the pandemic does not ease. 

As the country’s initiatives gains momentum, Parliament said after consultations with the whips and representatives of political parties, a decision was taken to cancel the plenary sitting scheduled for Tuesday. 

However, parliamentary spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo said Parliament would sit on Wednesday to conduct urgent business that would have been dealt with on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. This will include the consideration of the division of revenue bill. 

“Committee meetings will meet as scheduled until further notice. A special meeting between the presiding officers of Parliament and the whippery will take place on Tuesday, 17 March to consider the way forward in light of the president’s announcement,” Mothapo said.

Political Bureau