Durban – The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal should make sure that it does not emerge a loser when the governing party holds its elective conference at Nasrec next month, ANC NEC (national executive committee) member Bathabile Dlamini has cautioned party members.
With KZN having Dr Zweli Mkhize, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Senzo Mchunu, Mdumiseni Ntuli and Malusi Gigaba vying for office-bearer positions, Dlamini said it was important for all delegates to rally behind an individual with strong prospects of winning next month.
There are fears that lobbying for KZN will be more difficult as other provinces also seek representation in the top six positions of the governing party.
In a contest similar to the one in 2017 at Nasrec, Dlamini Zuma and Mkhize have been endorsed by some branches as presidential candidates in KZN, but many have pointed out that Mkhize’s campaign has greater momentum compared to five years ago.
Many ANC members believe that Mkhize stands a better chance at beating sitting President Cyril Ramaphosa than Dlamini Zuma. “Frankly speaking, there is a need for new and fresh ideas,” said a source close to Dlamini Zuma.
Dlamini confirmed to The Mercury that a number of meetings had been held with leaders to consolidate the province’s position, in order to ensure that KZN remained influential. She would not disclose the names of the leaders who had been part of the meetings. She stressed the importance of having a fair representation of women in the NEC and positions in the party.
“Honestly, my interest is to ensure that among the officials we have a 50% representation of women,” said Dlamini, adding that meetings to discuss leadership preferences would continue until the conference.
A senior Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) member conceded that the KZN leadership had an uphill battle in trying to persuade all its members to rally behind one person.
“The fact of the matter is that there are branches that have decided to stand behind a particular candidate, and no amount of persuasion will change their standpoint,” said the PEC member.
An insider in the Senzo Mchunu campaign said they had not been lobbied to rally behind anyone, and insisted that they were forging ahead with their campaign. “We are working on the ground and have people who are giving us daily updates on the campaign,” said the source yesterday. He added that the Mchunu and Ntuli campaigns were solid and were likely to forge a working relationship in the coming days.
Political analyst Thabani Khumalo noted how some of the candidates had gone about their campaign without any assistance or endorsement from the provincial leadership, warning of the negative effects this could have on KZN’s prospect of representation in the top six.
He said while the province boasted a high number of delegates going to the conference, this amounted to nothing without a show of unity.
“The importance of speaking with one voice unequivocally is important when going to such gatherings because it lays a foundation for success. Right now there is no suggestion that KZN is speaking as one,” said Khumalo.
According to the analyst, such divisions in KZN could provide fertile ground for other provinces to push for their candidates to assume the top six positions, leaving a divided KZN without any representation.