ANC KZN chairperson Sihle Zikalala File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ANA Pictures
Durban – The ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal chairman, Sihle Zikalala, is adamant that no splinter party will emerge in what is expected to be a bruising contest for leadership at the ANC’s elective conference in December.

On Monday night, Zikalala said the whole leadership or succession question would be “handled very carefully and with care”, but stressed that this would not mean that the party’s internal democratic processes would be suppressed. The statement comes just as some within the ANC-led Tripartite Alliance have warned that the looming leadership contest will be damaging and should be avoided.

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande on Saturday made an impassioned plea to the ANC to seek a negotiated settlement rather than going to a conference. Nzimande warned that whoever inherited the ANC after its December conference would inherit a “shell of an organisation” if the ANC allowed itself to go for a “shootout” at the conference.

KwaZulu-Natal, the ANC’s most powerful province, is yet to make a formal pronouncement on its preferred choice for ANC president. However, many structures within the province have openly started campaigning for former AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

She is expected to battle it out against deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa for the party presidency.

Zikalala was one of the panellists who participated in a debate at UKZN on “Unpacking state capture, white monopoly capital, socio-economic transformation and social protests”.

On the recent protests, Zikalala said the ANC would not succumb to pressure and axe President Jacob Zuma just because there were protests.

“Otherwise there will be a new president each week.”

Zikalala said the ANC was aware of all the problems besetting the party and society, but those would be dealt with internally.

He said many of the protests were led by the opposition. “These are people who never voted for the ANC anyway, including people like Bantu Holomisa who has no support base anywhere.”

He said the magnitude of the protests were magnified by those who “control the media”.

“That anger that is being televised is about 10% of the anger that is in the townships. What we need to concern ourselves with is that anger that is in the townships and the rural areas”

Zikalala said the ANC would not be dictated to by opposition parties.

On state capture, he said any form of state capture did not serve the interests of the ruling party.

The Mercury