It was expected to be different from what is usually associated with the ruling party, but the preliminary signs are contradicting that expectation. The road to the Democratic Alliance Eastern Cape elective conference, which started on Friday afternoon, has been filled with controversy.

In the build-up to the elective congress, the camps of both contenders – Veliswa Mvenya and Nqaba Bhanga – have laid several complaints against each other to the national leadership.

DA chairperson James Selfe said complaints made by the two camps had been sent to the federal legal commission, which had found them baseless.

“The federal legal commission found that there was no basis for any disciplinary action in respect of any of the complaints.”

Selfe said certain changes had been recommended by the federal legal commission to make clear the powers and function of the presiding officer.

The provincial congress was postponed in February because there were not enough branches to make a quorum.

“At the time of the audit, we had 150 branches that qualified for the delegation. The federal executive felt that it would be desirable to have a much more representative congress.”

He said the DA’s voting method was strict to ensure that members who attend the congress are eligible to vote on their new leaders.

The counting process is expected to conclude on Saturday morning, he said.

The DA will use the single transferable voting system which means that the person with the lowest votes drops out to avoid factional battles.

Supporters of both Bhanga and Mvenya were singing and chanting their names hours before the congress was scheduled to commence.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane is yet to speak.