The ANC is gearing up for the 2021 elections with its focus squarely on embattled municipalities. The party's secretary general, Ace Magashule, is heading to Nelson Mandela Bay on Wednesday with a contingent of National Executive Committee (NEC) members.
In a letter signed by Magashule, which News24 has seen, the party says its NEC members will be touring the country to intervene in various regions facing upcoming conferences or problems in their councils.
"The programme is primarily focused on municipalities faced with various challenges. These include cases where provincial and regional structures intend to bring changes to the leadership of the municipalities," the letter reads.
Nelson Mandela Bay has been rocked by scandal after scandal since UDM mayor Mongameli Bobani took over from the DA with the aid of the ANC and other opposition parties, including the EFF.
Four motions of no confidence have been tabled against Bobani. All have failed.
The most recent motion was orchestrated by the DA and the ANC.
With the recent resignation of DA leader Mmusi Maimane, and the re-emergence of Helen Zille as the party's federal council chair, the ANC's top brass say this has affected the "functioning of municipalities", "hindering service delivery".
"[Consequently] the situation has necessitated a need for the NEC to give guidance and political perspective on the approach in which the ANC caucus must handle these matters."
NEC delegates Nomvula Mokonyane, Dakota Legoete, Jeff Radebe, David Masondo, Meogo Matube and Tony Yengeni will form part of the delegation which will engage with party volunteers and branches.
At the heart of the interventions are two valuable metros the party lost in the 2016 municipal elections - Nelson Mandela Bay and Johannesburg. The party has been wooing DA coalition partners in Johannesburg to regain the metro, following executive mayor Herman Mashaba's dramatic resignation from the liberal party.
A provincial leader who sits on the NEC said the party is considering fresh elections in both metros to leverage the DA's very public power struggles, marked by the resignations of high-profile leaders.
"At the centre of all these interventions is the maintenance and building stability in our municipalities as we approach the 2021 local government elections," Magashule adds.
Speaking to News24, Legoete said the party had already visited municipalities in the North West, including Mafikeng Local Municipality, Moses Kotane Local Municipality, and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality. Other provinces on the list include Limpopo and Gauteng.
"Where we have a challenge of coalitions, we are going to get facts for ourselves so that we get the truth. After compiling the relevant information, we will report back to the entire NEC," Legoete said.