JZ TAK­ING ANC DOWN

Party must pull to­gether to be force in elec­tions – ex­perts

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - BON­GANI HANS & LUNGANI ZUNGU

THE IN­FIGHT­ING in the ANC and for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s machi­na­tions on the ground will end its two-decade elec­toral dom­i­nance and force it into a coali­tion gov­ern­ment, say an­a­lysts.

The ANC has been as­sured of 60% of the votes cast in gen­eral elec­tions since 1994, but that could be in dan­ger when the coun­try goes to the polls next year.

The week­end’s aborted pro­vin­cial elec­tive con­fer­ence in Em­pan­geni has wor­ried party lead­ers.

The first signs that its grip on the vot­ing pub­lic was loos­en­ing be­came ev­i­dent when the ANC fared badly in the 2016 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, se­cur­ing only 54% of the vote.

The ANC lost three key met­ros, Joburg, Nel­son Man­dela Bay and Tsh­wane, in 2016.

The ANC’S pro­vin­cial task team co-or­di­na­tor, Sihle Zikalala, con­ceded the ANC was not ready to start cam­paign­ing for next year’s elec­tions with­out a per­ma­nent struc­ture.

“You need sta­bil­ity when you go to elec­tions. We need lead­er­ship with author­ity and power, not just del­e­gated power, to lead the cam­paign,” said Zikalala.

But with the once-united prov­ince of Kwazulu-natal, pre­vi­ously a draw­card, in tat­ters, it re­mains to be seen how the party will fare next year.

The rifts in the ANC in KZN, Zuma’s home prov­ince, forced the can­ning of the ANC KZN pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence which led to re­newed talk of a split in the party.

ANC na­tional chair­man Gwede Man­tashe was booed at the aborted con­fer­ence. Zikalala later apol­o­gised to him.

The elec­tive con­fer­ence was meant to have taken place from Fri­day un­til to­day, but it was abruptly can­celled af­ter the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg High Court ruled in favour of some dis­grun­tled ANC mem­bers for it to be can­celled.

The court ap­pli­cants are from Moses Mab­hida, Lower South Coast and Harry Gwala re­gions whose whole re­gional lead­er­ship had been dis­banded.

Frac­tures

ANC del­e­gates who spoke to the Sun­day Tri­bune ex­pressed con­cern. They said the court de­ci­sion would have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on them kick-start­ing cam­paigns in their ar­eas.

Zikalala said the branches wanted the con­fer­ence to sit in six weeks’ time.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Im­raan Buc­cus said the frag­men­ta­tion of the ANC showed that two-and-a-half decades into lib­er­a­tion the party was fol­low­ing the same pat­tern of other lib­er­a­tion move­ments in Africa.

“And the key fig­ure in this frag­men­ta­tion is Ja­cob Zuma,” he said.

Buc­cus said the frac­tures in the pro­vin­cial ANC were “ex­tremely wor­ry­ing” and could mean an ir­re­triev­able break­down or, might be “an event­ful unity slate” once the court pro­ceed­ings and the con­fer­ence ended.

Buc­cus said good gov­er­nance had lit­tle to do with be­ing in power.

Pro­fes­sor Bheki Mn­gomezulu, a pol­i­tics lec­turer from the Univer­sity of the West­ern Cape, said: “The ANC failed to deal with the Zuma mat­ter by re­call­ing him and mak­ing him a vic­tim. Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa was set up. We are go­ing to see coali­tion gov­ern­ments if the ANC fails to deal with the cri­sis.”

Coali­tion gov­ern­ments were chaotic, he said, re­fer­ring to the con­flict in Nel­son Man­dela Bay, which was gov­erned by a coali­tion of the DA, EFF and United Demo­cratic Move­ment.

Zuma re­signed in Fe­bru­ary af­ter mount­ing pres­sure for him to leave the Union Build­ings. This an­gered his sup­port­ers.

Zakhele Ndlovu, a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst from the Univer­sity of Kwazulu-natal, said the ANC did not show a will­ing­ness to learn from its mis­takes, which would af­fect its elec­tion cam­paign.

“Their le­gal ad­vis­ers should have ad­vised them to post­pone the event as there were peo­ple who felt they were un­fairly ex­cluded.

“Peo­ple would not want to vote for those who are not united. I can guar­an­tee the ANC is not ready for cam­paign­ing,” said Ndlovu.

While the ANC lurched from one cri­sis to the next, Zuma seemed to have an iron grip on na­tional and pro­vin­cial pol­i­tics, es­pe­cially in KZN. This was ev­i­dent on Fri­day when he ad­dressed scores of his sup­port­ers who at­tended his court ap­pear­ance.

Shortly af­ter ap­pear­ing in the Dur­ban High Court on cor­rup­tion charges, Zuma told sup­port­ers he was “tired of all those who spoke about him” and he was no longer will­ing to be “nice”.

He again told his crit­ics to stop “pro­vok­ing him”.

This was seen as a thinly veiled warn­ing to his one-time ally, Blade Nz­i­mande, the SACP gen­eral sec­re­tary who ac­cused Zuma of be­ing at the cen­tre of a push-back cam­paign against those fight­ing cor­rup­tion.

His diehard al­lies, in­clud­ing for­mer North West pre­mier Supra Mahumapelo, for­mer SABC chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng, for­mer agri­cul­ture MEC Me­shack Radebe, for­mer co-op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance min­is­ter Des van Rooyen and Zikalala were in court.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Tha­bani Khu­malo be­lieves the fail­ure of the ANC in KZN to hold a con­fer­ence showed that the cur­rent lead­er­ship, the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, had failed the party.

He said a dis­as­ter was wait­ing to hap­pen in next year’s gen­eral elec­tions – a party could not call for an elec­tive con­fer­ence if the branches were not prop­erly con­sti­tuted.

PIC­TURE: GAVIN BARKER/BACK­PAGEPIX

El­ton Jan­tjies, Siya Kolisi,wil­lie le Roux and Aphiwe Dyan­tyi. With Kolisi their first black cap­tain, South Africa be­gan a new rugby era with a dra­matic 42-39 vic­tory over Eng­land in the first Test at El­lis Park yes­ter­day. See page 28

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