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Ramaphosa slate defeated in ANC KZN regional conference

Xolani Luthuli, new Lower South Coast regional secretary, said his leadership would allow branches to nominate their preferred candidates for provincial and national conferences. Photo by Willem Phungula

Xolani Luthuli, new Lower South Coast regional secretary, said his leadership would allow branches to nominate their preferred candidates for provincial and national conferences. Photo by Willem Phungula

Published Apr 4, 2022


DURBAN - President Cyril Ramaphosa’s second-term ambitions have been dealt a blow in KwaZulu-Natal following the election of the pro-former president Jacob Zuma supporters in the Lower South Coast region.

The region had backed Ramaphosa in the 54th ANC conference in 2017.

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The regional conference, which started on Saturday, ended on Sunday with the election of Mondli Chiliza as chairperson and Xolani Luthuli. The pair are known to have backed Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in 2017. Chiliza, who is currently a legislature member, defeated Ugu district mayor Phumlile Mthiyane, who could not get enough votes from the floor to contest.

She had accepted the nomination for chairperson position but declined the deputy chairperson position. Mthiyane was also the regional task team convener – a position equivalent to the chairperson.

In 2017 the region, through the well-known Ramaphosa backer Mzwandile Mkhwanazi, who was the regional secretary, had supported the CR17 slate. In this conference Mkhwanazi was backing Mthiyane as chairperson.

The losing slate had unsuccessfully tried to stop the conference, but their urgent application was dismissed, with costs, by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday, paving the way for the conference to start on Saturday.

They said there were outstanding disputes which were not yet resolved and therefore wanted the conference to be postponed pending the finalisation of those disputes which occurred during branch general meetings.

Mkhwanazi said he was still confident that the region would back Ramaphosa, saying the slate that won still has people who support Ramaphosa for a second term.

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Mthiyane agreed that she was in the CR17 camp in 2017 but refused to be drawn on whether she would still back Ramaphosa for a second term.

Luthuli, who was elected secretary, was regional task team co-ordinator – a position equivalent to secretary – and refused to be drawn on new leadership preferences talks for the provincial and national conferences.

Luthuli said they wanted to avoid a repeat of 2017, when the regional structure pronounced Ramaphosa as its preference while many branches favoured the NDZ slate.

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He said branches would decide at later engagements that would take place in order for regions to take their position on who they wanted to lead the province and nationally.

“From here delegates will go back to their branches to start the process where members would choose delegates to the provincial conference and also nominate their preferred candidates for positions.

“We don’t want a top-down approach like last time, where our region was dubbed a CR17 backer, which was not true because many branches backed Dlamini Zuma.

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“It was the leadership that supported Ramaphosa and some branches but many were not in that camp,” said Luthuli.

The deputy chairperson position went to Sikhumbuzo “Zero” Mqadi, who is the current Ray Nkonyeni municipality mayor. Zodwa Mzindle, who is the current Ray Nkonyeni municipality speaker, would deputise Luthuli. The treasurer position went to Bongani Nyuswa.

The delegates were expected to elect additional members and the closing speech was expected to be delivered by Mqadi after the new chairperson Chiliza had to abandon the conference to attend to an emergency at home.

Speaking at the opening, ANC KZN Provincial Treasurer Nomusa Dube-Ncube said the judicialisation of ANC politics must be discouraged.

“The increasing reliance on courts instead of the collective wisdom of our membership needs to be strongly discouraged.

“The ANC has a right to regulate its own internal affairs including deciding when to host conferences. Without pointing fingers at any comrade, we need to speak out strongly against the judicialisation of politics.

“The judicial means of addressing internal political matters is like a wildfire that is leaving a trail of destruction. There are leaders and ordinary cadres of the movement who must be held accountable for this destruction.

“The judicialisation of politics is not only affecting the ANC but there are capable comrades who have been destroyed in the process.”

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