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bit­terly di­vided KwaZulu-Na­tal ANC will head to con­fer­ence with­out the show of force which has his­tor­i­cally been associated with the prov­ince. War­ring fac­tions, who have thrown their weight behind cur­rent chair­per­son Sihle Zikalala and for­mer premier Senzo Mchunu, could con­tra­dict each other on pol­icy po­si­tions and which can­di­date should suc­ceed party pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma at the elec­tive con­fer­ence later this year.

Me­di­a­tion be­tween the two sides has proved fruit­less since the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence, which saw Mchunu ousted by Zikalala, who is said to en­joy close re­la­tions with Zuma. Fol­low­ing that con­fer­ence, some of Mchunu’s sup­port­ers headed to court in an at­tempt to have the out­comes nul­li­fied.

The mat­ter has been set down to be heard by a full bench of judges in Au­gust, three months be­fore the De­cem­ber na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence. So dire are the re­la­tions be­tween the two sides that some branches, who have aligned them­selves with Mchunu, have by­passed pro­vin­cial struc­tures and taken com­plaints of gate­keep­ing to the of­fice of sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe, telling him that they do not trust the pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (PEC) to deal with their griev­ances ob­jec­tively.

Al­liance part­ners Cosatu and SACP are also be­lieved to back Mchunu. Sup­port­ers of the anti-PEC group also in­clude dis­grun­tled sup­port­ers of for­mer eThek­wini mayor James Nx­u­malo, who is also the chair­per­son of the SACP in KZN.


At an ANC pro­vin­cial gen­eral coun­cil in Free State last weekend Premier Ace Ma­gashule read the riot act to dis­si­dents, warn­ing that he was ready to go head to head with those who dared to chal­lenge his author­ity.

Among the key themes in Ma­gashule’s speech was that he had never at any point lob­bied for him­self to be elected into a lead­er­ship po­si­tion in the ANC.

De­spite the brave face, Ma­gashule has been rat­tled. As the long­est-serv­ing pro­vin­cial chair­per­son of the ANC, he is un­der pres­sure to hand over the ba­ton.

Sup­port­ers of his num­ber two in the pro­vin­cial ANC lead­er­ship, deputy chair­per­son Thabo Many­oni, have made it known they want their man to take over the throne. This has been men­tioned among the key rea­sons Many­oni quit as an MP last month and went back to Free State.

A few years ago it had been a for­gone con­clu­sion that Many­oni would be the nat­u­ral suc­ces­sor but it seems the ta­bles have turned. Ac­cord­ing to high-rank­ing ANC in­sid­ers in the prov­ince, Ma­gashule has now set his sights on anoint­ing Mangaung mayor Olly Mlam­leli as his pre­ferred suc­ces­sor. Mlam­leli took over the run­ning of the city from Many­oni in the last lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.


The Eastern Cape ANC’s di­min­ish­ing in­flu­ence in the na­tional politics of Africa’s old­est lib­er­a­tion move­ment was re­cently high­lighted by the an­nounce­ments of the ANC Youth League and the Umkhonto weSizwe Mil­i­tary Veter­ans’ As­so­ci­a­tion of their pre­ferred can­di­dates to lead the party in De­cem­ber.

Be­sides being the sec­ond-big­gest ANC prov­ince af­ter KwaZulu-Na­tal, the prov­ince did not have a sin­gle leader from the Eastern Cape rep­re­sented in the list of the top party of­fi­cials dis­trib­uted by the two or­gan­i­sa­tions.

In the cur­rent group of top six of­fi­cials, two are from the Eastern Cape – Gwede Man­tashe as sec­re­tary-gen­eral and Baleka Mbete, the na­tional chair­per­son.

But the deep di­vi­sions within the pro­vin­cial struc­ture – which prides it­self as the home of leg­ends ow­ing to hav­ing pro­duced some of the most cel­e­brated lead­ers of the ANC, such as Nel­son Man­dela, OR Tambo, Chris Hani and Wal­ter Sisulu, to name a few – are fur­ther wors­ened by the up­com­ing pro­vin­cial elec­tive con­fer­ence.

The premier and chair­per­son of the ANC in the prov­ince, Phu­mulo Ma­su­alle, and his pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary, Os­car Mabuyane, are fron­trun­ners for the po­si­tion of chair­per­son.

Ma­su­alle’s cam­paign, which has been dubbed Si­manx­adanx­ada, has been linked to that of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (NDZ) while Mabuyane’s cam­paign, called #OM 17 or Soweto Train is linked to that of deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa (CR17).


Mpumalanga ANC is on a drive to in­crease its membership be­fore the De­cem­ber elec­tive con­fer­ence in or­der to have a large num­ber of del­e­gates and a strong voice.

This is be­cause all the struc­tures, re­gions and leagues in the prov­ince agree that Premier David Mabuza should be­come deputy pres­i­dent.

The prov­ince has about 400 branches. The drive aims to en­sure that each branch has at least 1 000 mem­bers so that the prov­ince can send about 5 000 del­e­gates to the con­fer­ence (a crazy idea con­sid­er­ing that about 4 000 del­e­gates at­tend the gath­er­ing) and in­crease Mabuza’s chances. The au­dit of membership fig­ures is still to be done, ac­cord­ing to pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Mandla Ndlovu.

Mabuza’s chances were boosted when all the prov­ince’s four re­gions – Eh­lanzeni, Nkan­gala, Gert Sibande and Bohla­belo – re­tained their ex­ec­u­tives fol­low­ing re­gional con­fer­ences two weeks ago.

The ex­ec­u­tives have been Mabuza’s staunch sup­port­ers and pil­lar of strength as he pre­pares to chal­lenge for the deputy pres­i­dency. Mpumalanga ap­pears to be the only prov­ince speak­ing in one voice and not rav­aged by fac­tions.


It is here where the 2019 elec­tion bat­tle will be cen­tred, as op­po­si­tion par­ties hope to leverage the dis­con­tent on the ground to push the ANC out of power. The ANC lost its ma­jor­ity in two key mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties (Tsh­wane and Jo­han­nes­burg) in the lo­cal elec­tions and this has em­bold­ened op­po­si­tion par­ties with talk of a pos­si­ble DA-led coali­tion gov­ern­ment af­ter elec­tions.

ANC membership dropped from 134 909 in 2012 to 87 759, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures pre­sented at its last na­tional gen­eral coun­cil in 2015 and re­cruit­ing has been pri­ori­tised.

Un­der the lead­er­ship of its chair­per­son, Paul Mashatile, the prov­ince is con­sid­ered a rebel child in the ANC and, in par­tic­u­lar, a thorn in Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s side.

Ekurhu­leni Mayor Mzwandile Masina, as well as the pro­vin­cial youth league and women’s league, are the ex­cep­tions in sup­port­ing Zuma.

Masina, de­scribed as a “Zuma man”, does not see eye to eye with the lead­er­ship un­der Mashatile and is said to be po­si­tion­ing him­self to take the pro­vin­cial chair and be premier in the near fu­ture.

This could dis­rupt what City Press un­der­stands is a suc­ces­sion plan al­ready in place, which would see Premier David Makhura take over as chair­per­son while Mashatile goes on to be­come one of the top of­fi­cials of the ANC if all goes to plan ahead of the De­cem­ber con­fer­ence.

Masina, who of­ten boasts about hav­ing the Ekurhu­leni re­gion solidly behind him, got the sur­prise of his life this week when the same branches that he com­mands al­most passed a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence against him.


When the ANC lost the gov­er­nance of the Western Cape, the party ac­knowl­edged the role of fac­tion­al­ism in its self-destruc­tion and vowed to unite and re­build for a stronger ANC that could win back the con­trol of the Western Cape.

But things have cer­tainly got worse over the past eight years.

Ev­i­dence of this is found in a draft re­port of a task team of the party’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee which was tasked with in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pro­cesses fol­lowed in se­lect­ing coun­cil­lor can­di­dates in the build-up to last year’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions. The task team rec­om­mended an ur­gent need for de­vel­op­ment of a pro­gramme to in­ter­vene on “the de­creas­ing life” of the or­gan­i­sa­tion in the prov­ince.

Only this week, the ten­sions played them­selves out in pub­lic when the prov­ince held its pro­vin­cial pol­icy con­fer­ence, which was ad­dressed by ANC deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa. The meet­ing col­lapsed with­out the dif­fer­ent dis­cus­sion groups mak­ing any pre­sen­ta­tions. Some ANC pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­clud­ing coun­cil­lors and mem­bers of the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture, who sup­port party pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, at­tended the event even though they were not ac­cred­ited as del­e­gates. They charged that the gath­er­ing was il­le­git­i­mate and ques­tioned the cre­den­tials of those who at­tended while singing pro-Zuma songs.


The ANC in North­ern Cape jumped through hur­dles be­fore it could host its pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence to elect new lead­ers last month. The de­lay was un­usual for a prov­ince that has for years been one of the most sta­ble in the ANC. The in­sta­bil­ity is best re­flected in the drop of membership numbers from 39 000 at the ANC na­tional gen­eral coun­cil two years ago to just about 30 000 at the last count be­fore the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence.

The duty to bring back sta­bil­ity rests with newly elected chair­per­son Za­mani Saul, who has so far shown a de­gree of so­bri­ety in the face of a push from branch del­e­gates that Premier Sylvia Lu­cas be fired for de­fi­antly reshuf­fling the pro­vin­cial cabinet on the eve of the con­fer­ence.

In­stead the PEC suc­cess­fully pushed for Lu­cas to re­verse the de­ci­sion de­spite al­le­ga­tions that the move was trig­gered by ev­i­dence of cor­rup­tion im­pli­cat­ing at least one MEC who was fired.

The con­test be­tween Saul’s and Lu­cas’ sup­port­ers mir­rors the dy­nam­ics at na­tional level, with Saul linked to Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s cam­paign and Lu­cas linked to those who want for­mer AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over from Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.


Three of the North West ANC’s four re­gions, in­clud­ing the big­gest in Bo­janala in Rusten­burg, are un­der care­taker lead­ers. The ANC pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive led by Premier Supra Mahumapelo dis­solved Bo­janala last year fol­low­ing a mass res­ig­na­tion of re­gional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers op­posed to for­mer re­gional sec­re­tary Tokyo Mataboge, a chief op­po­nent of Mahumapelo.

Other re­gions Mahumapelo dis­banded in­clude Ngaka Modiri Molema in Mafikeng and Dr Ruth Se­go­motsi Mom­pati in Vry­burg, leav­ing only the Dr Ken­neth Kaunda re­gion in Klerks­dorp with elected lead­er­ship.

The preva­lence of in­terim lead­ers at re­gional level ef­fec­tively means sub­stan­tial power has been cen­tralised at the pro­vin­cial head of­fice in Mphekwa House in Mafikeng.

Mahumapelo ear­lier this month fired pub­lic works MEC Madoda Sam­batha, reignit­ing open war­fare that pre­vi­ously char­ac­terised al­liance politics in the prov­ince. The SACP wants Mahumapelo to re­verse the de­ci­sion.

The big­gest threat to Mahumapelo’s le­git­i­macy is from dys­func­tional mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties re­sult­ing from ANC in­fight­ing.


In­fight­ing among sup­port­ers of Cyril Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma are mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for the ANC to con­vene its re­gional con­fer­ences ahead of the elec­tive De­cem­ber con­fer­ence. The Vhembe re­gion of the ANC fi­nally con­vened its con­fer­ence this weekend, af­ter nu­mer­ous de­lays be­cause of dis­putes by branches, who cried foul re­gard­ing the marginal­i­sa­tion of their del­e­gates.

Pro­vin­cial ANC chair­per­son Stan Matha­batha sup­ports the Ramaphosa cam­paign while sec­re­tary Knox Se­abi is associated with the Dlamini-Zuma cam­paign.

Se­abi’s al­lies in­clude ANC deputy pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Makoma Makhu­ru­petja and ANC pro­vin­cial trea­surer Danny Msiza, a for­mer ally of Matha­batha. Matha­batha as a chair­per­son is only sup­ported by his deputy Jerry Ndou.

In Mopani, the cur­rent re­gional chair­per­son Charley Sek­wati, an ally of Ramaphosa and Matha­batha, will be bat­tling with a Zuma ally Pule Shai. This re­gion has been in the media for all the wrong rea­sons fol­low­ing gate­keep­ing al­le­ga­tions. ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tan­she con­firmed that 14 out of 21 branches that raised dis­putes would con­vene branch gen­eral meet­ings.


GAMECHANGERS (From left) David Makhura, ANC pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, Gaut­eng chair Paul Mashatile and deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa wave to the sup­port­ers as they en­ter FNB Sta­dium at last year’s ANC Gaut­eng man­i­festo launch

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