Durban - Despite claims by some within the Zandile Gumede faction that their campaign has now been endorsed by businessman Sandile Zungu ahead of the ANC's eThekwini elective regional conference, the latter says he has taken no sides.
Late on Wednesday, a short video of Zungu was circulated on WhatsApp groups, showing him leading in the singing a Zulu song that says: “If need be, let the fight begin, Zandile, are you afraid of them?”
WATCH: ANC factions in the eThekwini region are engaged in last mobilization campaigns ahead of their elective conference starting on Friday. In this video, the Zandile Gumede faction was recorded singing in one of their last ditch meeting which was held in undisclosed venue. pic.twitter.com/y6Kmv4cSwQ— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 6, 2022
The video was recorded at a gathering of Gumede’s supporters who privately met in Durban to conduct what in the ANC circles is called “head count”, which is done to assess the strength of a faction ahead of an elective conference.
It was the song that made some supporters of Gumede claim that Zungu, who is also the chairperson of Durban-based AmaZulu Football Club, a historic team that has ties with the Zulu monarch, has joined their ranks as they prepare to battle with the Thabani Nyawose faction.
ICYMI: The ANC in eThekwini region is this weekend hosting its elective conference in Durban. 2 factions led by Zandile Gumede and Thabani Nyawose are vying for power, & here is what their slates look like. Factionalism and gatekeeping have decimated the region. @DailyNewsSA pic.twitter.com/hrSgS4S3sU— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 7, 2022
At the national level, the Nyawose faction is favoured by the Cyril Ramaphosa leadership, while the Gumede faction is openly supported by the RET faction, whose father figure is former president Jacob Zuma.
The spokesperson of Zandile Gumede supporters, Ntando Khuzwayo, refused to be drawn into commenting about Zungu’s intention, attendance and only said: “The writing is on the wall”.
He then refused to disclose the exact venue of the gathering and its purpose. He then said only Zungu could comment on this.
“I can't comment on both. About him supporting uMama (Zandile Gumede), you'll have to ask him,” Khuzwayo said.
But Zungu said he had not taken any sides, and as a member of the governing party in ward 1, he wants to see unity.
“I support the ANC in eThekwini, irrespective of who emerges between the competing personalities. I enjoy very cordial relationships with both Cdes (comrades) Zandile Gumede and Thabani Nyawose and the individual comrades in their line ups.
“My appearance and brief message yesterday emphasized the need for maximum unity within the ANC and that the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal should rebuild the trust amongst the communities so as to achieve a decisive victory come 2024 National and provincial elections. I remain a loyal and disciplined member of the ANC in good standing, based in eThekwini ward 81,” Zungu told the Daily News on Thursday.