KZN ANC pledge a show of unity
Branches to set aside differences during January 8 celebrations, manifesto launch
AS THE ANC gears up for its 107th birthday celebrations next year, the party’s leadership in KwaZulu-Natal is promising a show of unity despite factional battles in the province.
The ANC last month said its Durban and Pietermaritzburg regions, its two biggest regions in the province, would host the January 8th Statement and the election manifesto launch, respectively on January 8 at the Harry Gwala Stadium and on January 12 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The ANC’s head of elections, Fikile Mbalula said they expected up to 140 000 of their supporters to descend on the Moses Mabhida Stadium and People’s Park as part of the party’s 107th birthday celebrations in its biggest region.
Since 2015 KwaZulu-Natal has been the scene of fierce factional battles, which have seen party members head to court over their unhappiness about the outcome of leadership tussles. The party finally held a provincial conference in July and elected a new leadership. ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said there was huge excitement in the province over ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s presiding over the first major ANC event under the new provincial leadership.
At the party’s 106th birthday celebrations in East London former president Jacob Zuma was booed several times when he arrived late at the event, but Ntuli said they did not anticipate any negativity.
However, Ntuli said he was aware that incidents such as the booing and heckling of leaders were a reflection of an organisation that was not united. “When you’re booing leadership you’re undermining the ANC, so you would have such instances where when there’s a lot of unhappiness, comrades who are not very steeped into the culture of the movement will decide to do things such as booing leadership. “But we believe, as a province, a great deal of work has been done to unify the province.
“We went to a (provincial) conference, we elected a leadership that represents all interests in the province, and we are now consolidating structures in areas that were affected by the 2016 local government elections over the past few months,” Ntuli said.
Even some disgruntled branches of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal are willing to put aside their differences with the provincial leadership to rally behind the celebrations and the election campaign.
In the ANC’s Moses Mabhida region (Pietermaritzburg) up to 85 branches are disgruntled over the region still not being able to hold its regional conference, and the branches are at loggerheads with the regional task team (RTT), which they feel was imposed on them.
However, despite this unhappiness the branches have decided to rally behind the upcoming birthday celebrations and election manifesto launch to show that they are “disciplined members of the ANC”.
Sithembiso Nkuna, a spokesperson for the 85 branches, said they were going to mobilise the branches to attend both the January 8th Statement and the election manifesto launch. “This is our organisation and we can’t let something temporary as this RTT stop us; it is our dream and our wish that the stadium be filled to capacity and we will be mobilising strongly to ensure that,” Nkuna said.
He said branches would not express their unhappiness by booing and heckling as they had urged their branches to exercise the highest level of discipline.