Provincial co-ordinator Sihle Zikalala
Durban - The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is now united as it goes to its much anticipated provincial conference to be held this weekend at the University of Zululand, according to outgoing party provincial convener Mike Mabuyakhulu.

Mabuyakhulu told the media in Durban on Thursday that the majority of the ANC members were happy with the conference.

“We should allow the internal democracy of the ANC to prevail, and when there is internal democracy, you listen to all views. It is common cause that you go with the rule of democracy,” said Mabuyakhulu.

Also present at the press briefing about the ANC state of readiness for the conference were provincial co-ordinator Sihle Zikalala and a national executive committee (NEC) member deployed to the province, Nocawe Mafu.

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe is expected to deliver the opening address this evening. Zikalala said that if former president Jacob Zuma attends, he would do so as a member of his branch in Nkandla.

The conference is a result of the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling that in December nullified the 2015 provincial executive committee, whose chairperson was Zikalala.

Five ANC members representing the aggrieved faction of former premier Senzo Mchunu and Mabuyakhulu turned to the court to challenge the provincial conference held in Pietermaritzburg three years ago. The court verdict led to provincial executive committee (PEC) members attending the ANC national conference in Nasrec in December doing so as non-voting delegates.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership suspended the PEC in December, and replaced it with the interim structure led by Mabuyakhulu, Zikalala and 14 other prominent figures of the ANC who were selected from both factions.

However, the composition of the structure raised eyebrows as it was composed of 11 people aligned to the suspended PEC and only five from Mabuyakhulu’s faction.

Members of Mabuyakhulu’s faction had since last month been holding meetings to express their objection to the conference being held before next year's general elections. They wanted the NEC to spend enough time resolving issues of factionalism linked to widespread political killings in the province, and gatekeeping during branch general meetings.

Mabuyakhulu said the national working committee had, after visiting all regions on April 22 and 23, concluded that the province was ready for the conference.

Mabuyakhulu said members of the ANC who are aggrieved with processes towards the conference should raise concerns through internal processes instead of protests and court challenges.

Out of 11 regions, only the Moses Mabhida, Lower South Coast and Harry Gwala regions will have non-voting representatives at the conference because they had been disbanded. “There are 686 branches that will participate, and two delegates per branch, then proportional representatives,” said Zikalala.

He said the spirit of unity was emerging in KZN as the six regional conferences that had convened under the provincial task team were “characterised by a high level of unity.”

“As the provincial task team, we have completed our duties as mandated by the NEC to ensure the convening of the conference,” said Zikalala.

He said all ANC members were given a chance to raise their concerns, and ‘the committees addressed all the issues”.

Mafu said the NEC had discussed the volatile situation in the province and had reached consensus that the conference should go ahead.

“We are aware of some disgruntled people, but all branches have been given an opportunity to convince BGMs (branch general meetings) to discuss processes of the conference.

“KwaZulu-Natal has met the 70% threshold for the conference to go ahead,” she said.

ANC Youth League provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo said the league would ask for the issue of political violence to be discussed at the conference. “The majority of the people who have been killed are members of the ANC.”

Daily News