KZN not united on party’s presidential candidate
This week’s pronouncement by the ANC’s eThekwini region that it was backing a female candidate for the party presidency may further fracture the province, rather than uniting it behind that candidate at the party’s national elective conference in December.
eThekwini secretary Bheki Ntuli told media houses this week that the regional executive committee had met and “resolved as a structure on a woman president”.
Ntuli, whose region is the largest and most influential in the province, went further and backed former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – believed to be President Jacob Zuma’s choice as successor – as president.
“We are listening to the various structures and leagues, in particular the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), which has endorsed Dlamini-Zuma for president. We are listening to them,” Ntuli said.
While the region’s pronouncement – which follows on that of the ANC Youth League in the region and province openly backing the “NDZ’’ campaign – is aimed at rallying early support behind Dlamini-Zuma, it may serve to further fracture the province’s fragile unity.
Already, four different lobbies in the provincial leadership are beginning to punt their choices for ANC president, despite a series of calls that they refrain from doing so by provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala, who also penned a discussion document calling for selection based on strict criteria, rather than personality. “We have a province that is already split four ways,” said a member of the provincial legislature, who asked not to be named. “There are talks to try and bring together the two lobbies backing Dlamini-Zuma and [deputy president] Cyril Ramaphosa, but this may set those back.” Xubera Institute for Research and Development researcher Xolani Dube said that despite the “forkedtongued’’ assertions that lobbying should not take place yet, the process was already under way. Dube says with lobbies backing both minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe and ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize for the ANC’s top job active in the province, particularly in the Newcastle area and on the south coast, the endorsement will heighten, rather than lessen, divisions.
Other regions were being lobbied, with some not coming out clearly. Ilembe, while strongly influenced by Zikalala, was not 100% behind Dlamini-Zuma, while Mkhize’s presence in the mix could undermine Zuma in his Midlands stronghold.
The north coast and far north regions, where Senzo Mchunu – who was ousted as chairperson at the November 2015 provincial conference – still has large numbers of supporters, are split on their choice ahead of their regional conferences.
“The province went into the last conference relatively united. They have lost that focal point and the evolution of politics and the changing interests at work in the province mean that that unity is gone,” said Dube.
Dube said while lobbyists backing Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa were trying to secure backing for a slate pairing them, this was unlikely to sit well with the lobbies backing Radebe and Mkhize.
DOEK, LINE AND SINKER Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma