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KZN SACP leaders set to retain positions uncontested during weekend’s conference

SACP’s Themba Mthembu. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/ANA

SACP’s Themba Mthembu. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/ANA

Published May 18, 2022

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Durban - With the South African Communist Party (SACP) in KwaZulu-Natal heading for its elective conference this weekend in Durban, two of the party’s most senior leaders are expected to retain their positions without putting up a fight.

According to sources within the provincial communist party, James Nxumalo and Themba Mthembu will not be facing any competition.

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Nxumalo, the former mayor of eThekwini who had a strained relationship with Zandile Gumede, is the current chairperson of the party, while Mthembu, a former MEC for agriculture and rural development, is the current provincial secretary.

Currently, both are on the ANC ticket. Nxumalo is a member of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial legislature, while Mthembu is the deputy speaker in the same building.

A few weeks back, the party leaders met to iron out the nitty-gritty of the conference. Later, lobbyists agreed that the two should remain in their positions.

A source who attended the meeting said it was felt that it was not the right time to rock the boat even though it was initially thought that Mthembu, who is seen to be sympathetic to former president Jacob Zuma, should be removed.

“There will be no contest at the conference. Nxumalo and Mthembu will be retained, and that is for unity and continuity. At the present moment, there are no leaders within the party who can take them on,” said a source.

Another source said attempts by the Young Communist League (YCL) to field a candidate had faltered.

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“The YCL eventually decided not to rock the boat and allow the two leaders to continue. They wanted Mthembu’s position. Nxumalo was safe as he is seen as a sober leader who doesn’t take sides in ANC factional battles,” the insider said.

Mthembu said it is all up to branches to decide whether to re-elect him or not.

“I will hear from them,” he said.

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The conference will be held at Olive Convention Centre, and it will be attended by 307 delegates from all over the province, leagues and tripartite alliance partners, like the ANC and Cosatu (Congress of South African Trade Unions).

It will be addressed by the General Secretary of the SACP, Blade Nzimande, and it will receive messages of solidarity from the Ambassador of Palestine and the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS), which is currently waging a war of freedom against King Mswati III.

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