The three-day provincial gathering started on Friday morning at the St George Hotel in Irene, outside Pretoria. The conference will elect new Gauteng ANC leaders.
Mashatile enjoys the support of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), among other ANC structures in the province.
Speaking to The Citizen at the conference, former ANCYL’s national executive committee member Abner Mosaase said both the Leadue and the parent body had agreed that Mashatile ought not to be pitted against anyone for the position.
He said the rationale behind the decision was to unite the ANC in the province and create a fertile ground for successful electioneering in preparation for the 2016 local government elections.
“We lost a lot of voter support in this province and we don’t want a repeat of that,” said Mosaase, who claimed to be a secretariat at the gathering.
However, The Citizen has learnt that some of the ANC’s top brass were worried that the ruling party would be divided if Mashatile receive the nod unchallenged. Insiders at the gathering said those who belong to the President Jacob Zuma faction, such as former Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, were strongly agitated.
Mashatile fell out of favour with Zuma during the build-up to the 2012 ANC conference held in Mangaung, as he opposed Zuma’s re-election.
“The ANC is our organisation and it is not owned by an individual. All the nominated comrades need to be given a chance to contest any position,” said a delegate who asked not to be identified.
Mashatile could not be reached for comment.