Chris Ndaliso
Senior journalist
4 minute read
25 Jul 2022

Unity a big task for newly elected ANC leadership in KZN

Chris Ndaliso

Political analyst Dr Fikile Vilakazi is questioning the agenda of unity in the KZN ANC.

New ANC KZN chairperson Siboniso Duma alongside his deputy Nomagugu Simelane. Photo: Thabiso Goba

The newly elected ANC leadership in KwaZulu-Natal has a difficult task to unite the party in the province ahead of the December national elective conference.

This comes after the party went into the weekend’s provincial conference as divided factions. Some ANC members even walked out of the conference venue after their preferred candidates lost the contest for positions in the KZN provincial executive committee.

The agenda of unity in the KZN ANC is questionable, a University of KZN political analyst, Dr Fikile Vilakazi said on Sunday.

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He was commenting on how during the start of yesterday’s session to nominate additional members for the provincial executive committee, the number of conference delegates had dropped significantly compared to Saturday before the voting and announcement of winners.

Vilakazi said this was a show of disunity in the party, and that it would seem as if some delegates were only interested in who the winners would be for the top five positions.

“The agenda of unity in the ANC is just rhetoric. These factions are more about personalities instead of ideologies. It is really a concern to have people preaching unity and yet not play the part,” said Vilakazi.

She said politics were about power and realism, and that the poor showing of the delegation was not an indication or sign of unity.

Vilakazi raised a concern about the winning faction, which calls itself the Taliban as its chosen nickname is associated with militarism and has wrecked havoc in parts of the world.

Asked if the Taliban, which is perceived to be aligned to the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) faction would be able to honour and maintain the relationship when the latter comes back to “collect”, Vilakazi said she did see it failing to do so.

“The group will definitely prioritise the RET. The whole conceptualisation of the Taliban is a concern. I’m really keen to know what they stand for. My sense is that this is a demonstration of sadness, a sense of disillusionment regarding the fact that the province has gone back to a state of default.

“The province has not really brought in a sense of newness, all the people that are sitting in the new provincial leadership of the ANC leadership are comrades that have been there in the various structures of the organisation, some of who would need to resign in those positions.

“If you look at [Bheki] Mtolo for example is the current mayor of Kokstad, so for him to accept this role it means that he has to resign from that position of being a mayor and the others as well so there is then the fact that for the agenda of change which is so much desired by the people on the ground and so much desired by the members of the ANC who are aligned to the Ankole faction of Sihle Zikalala and others, it means that there is nothing that is going to change,” she said.

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She said people were going to sit with the Talibans, who are aligned to the former president Jacob Zuma and it meant that the status quo persists.

“So for me the attendance of lesser numbers in yesterday’s session is that depth of shaken hope becacause they hoped that if Sihle Zikalala continues as a chair perhaps an agenda of unity could have persisted so my sense is that is what it is,” said Vilakazi.

She said her raising of the Taliban conceptualisation in this new leadership was the fact that it seems to be troubling if it is left unattended.

“It raises a question whether the faction which is associated with this group which is linked to former President Zuma is associating itself with everything that Talibanism is about as I have alluded to it in the politics of Nigeria.

“Is it not perhaps important for the Taliban to declare, in the context of South African politics what this Talibanism is about?

“I think that it is important that that concept is broken down to the ordinary person who may be aligned to this faction and who may have voted for this faction and who may want to continue supporting this faction. This is some sort of militarisation of the society and the July unrest was linked to Jacob Zuma.”