The fear of losing the next general elections could see the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal regions throw their weight behind Premier Sihle Zikalala at next month’s elective conference.
In the build up to ANC KZN regional conferences, which concluded the election of new regional leaders last month, factions have been lobbying for the nomination of their preferred candidates for the upcoming provincial conference.
The jockeying for top positions led to predictions that the provincial conference would be a highly contested one.
However, various ANC regional leaders say there is now consensus among regions on the need to ensure that the provincial conference unites rather than divides the party.
“When we started, there were those pushing for wholesale changes within the provincial executive committee (PEC), particularly the top five leadership structures. On the other hand, there were those wanting the current top five leadership to be returned.
“The two factions now agree that pushing for wholesale changes would lead to a fierce contest for leadership position, which is likely to leave the ANC in the province divided in the middle,” an ANC eThekwini regional leader said.
There are currently strong indications that the current ANC provincial deputy chairperson, Mike Mabuyakhulu, who took special leave after being charged by the Hawks for corruption, is unlikely to contest for any of the top five leadership positions in the July KZN conference.
This has led to some regions, particularly eThekwini and Moses Mabhida, pushing for their preferred leaders to be elected to the ANC provincial deputy position.
The ANC Moses Mabhida region wants the current Education MEC, Kwazi Mshengu, to be elected to the deputy chairperson position, while, the eThekwini region is pushing for former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede’s election to the top five structure.
However, the ANC eThekwini regional leadership declined to indicate whether it wanted Gumede to be elected to the ruling party’s provincial deputy chairperson position.
“For now, all we are saying is that two leaders from this region — the current ANC provincial secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli, and comrade Zandile should form part of the top five leadership structure,” ANC eThekwini regional secretary Musa Nciki said.
The ANC Musa Dladla regional leadership, currently pushing for the ANC to lend former president Jacob Zuma more support in his court battles, said all it wanted at this stage was a “fair representation” in the PEC.
“In the outgoing PEC, the Musa Dladla region had a certain number of leaders from the region in the PEC. What we are not prepared to accept is for that number to be reduced,” said Musa Dladla regional chair Musa Cebekhulu.