Durban - Embattled KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Sizwe Mchunu narrowly escaped a well-planned vote of no confidence when his detractors held back at Saturday’s provincial council.
The 35-year-old Mchunu may have survived his biggest mid-term hurdle, but the challenge is not over and his political career will face its greatest challenge at the provincial congress in February.
In the lead-up to Saturday’s provincial council held at the Tropicana Hotel at the beachfront, speculation was rife that certain council members were poised to propose a motion of no confidence in Mchunu that would ultimately cut short his two-year reign.
Mchunu, who is also the party’s legislature leader, was elected to the top position at the DA congress held in Ladysmith in March 2012, after a few months in an acting capacity.
He beat his rival and political nomad Ziba Jiyane, who had just joined the DA. Jiyane is a former IFP national chairman and leader of Nadeco, an IFP splinter group that is now defunct.
While Mchunu didn’t win by a comfortable margin in 2012, he worked hard to unite the party ahead of this year’s general elections, in which the party became KwaZulu-Natal’s official opposition for the first time in its history.
Soon after the congress in 2012, the DA moved swiftly to heal the potentially divisive wounds, with leader Helen Zille calling for a united front ahead of this year’s elections.
However, his wish to see the DA through to the local government elections now hangs in the balance.
Young leaders determined to take over the party are believed to be working hard behind the scenes to topple him.
The Sunday Tribune understands that his close friend and provincial chairman Haniff Hoosen worked as hard to avert the situation.
Hoosen would not comment on Saturday.
Cracks in the Mchunu leadership started to emerge in late 2012 after he failed to join Zille on her visit to President Jacob Zuma’s home in Nkandla in November 2012.
Mchunu was unavailable for comment.