KZN not united on party’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­date

CityPress - - News - PADDY HARPER paddy.harper@city­

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

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