Ed­ward throws BGM off the rail

No so­lu­tion to dis­pute as Ed­ward Zuma calls for fresh elec­tions KZN scoops Go­van Mbeki Award again


AN ON­GO­ING feud be­tween Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s el­dest son, Ed­ward, and the chair­per­son of the Msholozi branch in Nkandla, Doc­tor Bhengu, led to the col­lapse of last week’s branch gen­eral meet­ing (BGM).

Ed­ward’s back­ers did not show up be­cause they dis­puted Bhengu’s elec­tion and the meet­ing col­lapsed as a quo­rum could not be achieved.

But Bhengu is con­fi­dent that his ward, which is known to be be­hind Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in next month’s ANC elec­toral con­fer­ence, will sit for their resched­uled BGM to­day.

The ANC has been stag­ing na­tion­wide BGMS to nom­i­nate can­di­dates ahead of the na­tional con­fer­ence.

Ed­ward’s sup­port­ers, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said they would not at­tend branch meet­ings be­cause they did not recog­nise the cur­rent lead­er­ship, which they re­garded as an il­le­git­i­mate struc­ture.

“The cur­rent lead­er­ship is il­le­git­i­mate and we want fresh elec­tions to take place in the branch. That’s why we will not at­tend meet­ings,” said an­other of Ed­ward’s sup­port­ers.

The rift be­tween the two deep­ened when Bhengu beat Ed­ward to the lead­er­ship po­si­tion of the ward that bears his clan (Msholozi) name in April.

Af­ter los­ing, Ed­ward lodged an ap­peal with the pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship to have the branch elec­tions set aside and for fresh elec­tions to take place.

His sup­port­ers, who claimed that the party pro­cesses were flouted dur­ing the April elec­tions, have since vowed to boy­cott branch meet­ings un­til their re­quest for fresh elec­tions is ac­cepted.

One staunch Ed­ward Zuma sup­porter said: “The branch lead­er­ship knows that it stole the elec­tions in April.” Ed­ward’s fac­tion has also raised its dis­con­tent with the ANC’S na­tional lead­er­ship and has sim­i­larly not re­sponse as yet.

It’s be­lieved that the branch was firmly be­hind Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to be­come the ANC’S next pres­i­dent. How­ever, with the pres­i­dency race be­ing a num­bers game, if the branch failed to suc­cess­fully con­vene a BGM be­fore Wed­nes­day’s dead­line, it would im­pact on Dlamini Zuma’s bid for the top po­si­tion.

The branch also did not de­ploy any del­e­gates to the party’s pol­icy con­fer­ence held in July, where pol­icy pro­pos­als and di­rec­tions were de­bated. re­ceived a

In April, the branch elec­tion in Msholozi turned ugly when sup­port­ers of Ed­ward and Bhengu squared up to each other and chaos erupted. Bhengu emerged vic­to­ri­ous at the sec­ond at­tempt, leav­ing Ed­ward’s back­ers fu­ri­ous.

Bhengu, who now leads the branch, ac­knowl­edged that last week’s BGM had col­lapsed af­ter Ed­ward’s sup­port­ers had boy­cotted the meet­ing.

He said his re­la­tion­ship with Ed­ward had turned sour af­ter he de­feated him in April.

De­spite the snags, Bhengu was con­fi­dent the BGM, at Mnyakana High School, the pres­i­dent’s vot­ing sta­tion, would achieve a quo­rum to­day.

He said ef­forts to mend his bro­ken re­la­tion­ship with Ed­ward had not borne fruit.

“Even the pro­vin­cial and re­gional (Musa Dladla re­gion) lead­er­ship in­ter­vened, but he (Ed­ward) kept dic­tat­ing terms af­ter he had lost the elec­tion.”

Bhengu said the branch would nom­i­nate Dlamini Zuma to be the new pres­i­dent in De­cem­ber.

Ed­ward di­rected all queries to the pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship.

ANC pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Su­per Zuma said they were deal­ing with Ed­ward’s ap­peal, and de­clined to give fur­ther de­tails.

How­ever, he con­ceded that the ANC was racing against time, and that the Msholozi branch was not the only branch that had failed to con­vene its BGM. CON­GRAT­U­LA­TORY mes­sages have flooded in for the Kwazulu-na­tal De­part­ment of Hu­man Set­tle­ments and Pub­lic Works af­ter it snatched the Go­van Mbeki Award for sus­tain­able hu­man set­tle­ment for a fourth con­sec­u­tive time.

One of the found­ing mem­bers of the shack dwellers move­ment, Abahlali basemjon­dolo, Sbu Zikode, sang the praises of MEC Ravi Pil­lay.

“We give credit where it’s due.

“Pil­lay has been work­ing hard and we con­grat­u­late him on win­ning the award.”

While Zikode lauded Pil­lay and his de­part­ment, he said a lot still needed to be done in rid­ding the province of hous­ing cri­sis.

“Peo­ple on the ground need to be proactive and we need to am­plify our voices in pur­suit of a bet­ter life.”

Zikode, who was part of the de­part­ment’s ac­tion work­ing group, said: “It helped the de­part­ment a great deal to rope in peo­ple like us into their ac­tion work­ing group com­mit­tee be­cause we kept them abreast of the plight of peo­ple on the ground. We live with them and know their daily chal­lenges.”

Si­fiso Mkhize, a res­i­dent at the Kennedy road in­for­mal set­tle­ment in Clare Es­tate, con­grat­u­lated Pil­lay but pleaded with him to also con­sider them in hous­ing projects. its

“At least we know that some­where in the province some poor peo­ple are get­ting houses. We ac­knowl­edge that gov­ern­ment can­not pro­vide houses for ev­ery­one at the same time, but we plead with the MEC to fast-track the pro­gramme.”

In re­sponse, Pil­lay said: “I re­ally did not ex­pect this one. Hu­man Set­tle­ments re­quires a lot of part­ner­ships and one has to al­ways do things bet­ter. Do­ing it cor­rect comes with a lot of hard work, and work­ing as a team. It re­quires work­ing with other stake­hold­ers such as mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, who are at the coal­face of hous­ing de­liv­ery, as well as tra­di­tional lead­er­ship.”

Driven by the Na­tional De­part­ment of Hu­man Set­tle­ments, which is headed by Lindiwe Sisulu, the Go­van Mbeki Awards is in recog­ni­tion of ex­cel­lence in the pro­vi­sion of de­cent hous­ing.

Premier Wil­lies Mchunu said: “We con­grat­u­late the De­part­ment of Hu­man Set­tle­ments led by Pil­lay for this achieve­ment. Win­ning the Go­van Mbeki Award year af­ter year is an in­di­ca­tion that the de­part­ment un­der­stands that the de­liv­ery of houses is more than just the con­struc­tion of four walls and a roof but a foun­da­tion for the cre­ation of new com­mu­ni­ties.”

Mean­while, the ethek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, led by mayor Zandile Gumede, also won the Best Metropoli­tan Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the Year award.


The win­ning team: MEC for Hu­man Set­tle­ments and Pub­lic Works in Kwazulu-na­tal, Ravi Pil­lay and staffers cel­e­brat­ing af­ter their of­fice won the Go­van Mbeki Award fourth time in a row.

Ed­ward Zuma is re­fus­ing to ac­cept de­feat by Doc­tor Bhengu.

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