A court ruling that the leaders of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal were elected unlawfully will not damage the presidential campaign of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in her home province.
“If they think this thing is going to destabilise our resolve on mama Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma they must think again. We are on the ground just above the grass, that is where we are. We know our story. We are on top of issues in this province, so there is no turning back. December ... we are coming as branches of KwaZulu-Natal,” a determined Thanduxolo Sabelo told the media today.
At a joint press briefing at the KwaZulu-Natal headquarters of the ANC, the youth league secretary and stanch Zuma loyalist said that the court judgment handed down yesterday was not about the 2015 provincial conference but was a power play ahead of the ANC’s national elective conference in December.
Eight senior leaders have thrown their hats into the ring in the race to succeed President Jacob Zuma. The frontrunners are Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“This case is not about the provincial conference. We must speak the truth to the people of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa ... These comrades are not even contesting the provincial conference; they know that there is no space to contest. All regions are here. If you convene a conference tomorrow they will re-elect Sihle [Zikalala] and Super [Zuma] as the secretary. So how do you then think these comrades are contesting the provincial conference,” Sabelo said.
“These comrades are contesting the national conference. If you can see the former chair of the province, comrade Senzo Mchunu, he is up and down the entire country addressing chairs in Limpopo and the Free State. So this contest is not about the provincial conference, it is about the national conference.
“What we want to say to them is that they must think again. The provincial executive committee is not voting in the national conference, it is the branches. These regions are still intact,” he said referring to the former chairperson who was ousted at the 2015 conference.
Mchunu has nailed his colours to the mast, openly campaigning for Ramaphosa. He has also been touted for the position of secretary-general on that slate. Outside court yesterday, Mchunu’s supporters, who had challenged the outcomes of the provincial conference, also declared their support for Ramaphosa.
Sabelo said that even if the provincial executive committee members who were unlawfully elected in 2015 were told they could not go to the conference, chairperson Sihle Zikalala – also a Zuma loyalist – would still go as a branch delegate.
“Sihle Zikalala is a member in the Matthews Meyiwa branch. If you want to nullify him as a chair, he will be a branch delegate. He will still lead us, he is our choice.
“So we are sending a warning, if anyone thinks KwaZulu-Natal is going to be in chaos, they are playing games.”
Historically KwaZulu-Natal has the biggest and most consolidated voting delegation at the ANC’s national conference. This year, warring factions have divided what was once a kingmaker province with candidates, Dlamini-Zuma, Ramaphosa and Dr Zweli Mkhize all battling it out for a share of the pie.