Durban - ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson and Premier Sihle Zikalala says he will not embark on grandstanding or self-promotion in his quest to assume the party’s top job as he believes in the values of the governing party which emphasise discipline and serving the people.
With the highly anticipated provincial elective conference just two days away, Zikalala downplayed any excitement about the all-important conference which may decide his political future.
“I am not the kind of person who likes grandstanding, I have been schooled in the politics of the movement which deals with the concept of the National Democratic Revolution and does not deal with individuals,” he said in an interview with The Mercury yesterday.
Zikalala has been nominated by a number of branches and regions, including the Moses Mabhida Region who boldly endorsed him for another term as the chairperson. He faces competition from Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Sboniso Duma, Nhlanhla Ngidi and businessman Sandile Zungu for the position.
Zikalala maintained that he was firmly focused on his task of leading the government as the provincial premier in a bid to ensure the efficient delivery of services throughout the province.
“I am the kind of person that joined the ANC when it was not preoccupied by conferences, but by the essence of being an ANC member,” the chairperson said.
He noted the culture of jostling for positions by individuals that sought to gain personally from the governing party, a culture which he insisted was foreign in the movement.
He added that it was important for party members and activists to commit to the values of the party regardless of whether people were in positions or not.
“I am an ANC activist who always studies the ANC as an organisation and its philosophy and understands the ANC as a disciplined force of the left,” Zikalala stressed.
He conceded that political discontent in the ANC had been one of the pressure points that triggered the unrest in July last year where the looting and torching of businesses took place in many parts of the province and in Gauteng.
Zikalala also cited the prevailing conditions at the time including the lockdown, massive unemployment, rising poverty levels and the poor performance of the economy as some of the factors that influenced what he labelled as an unfortunate development.
“At a political level there was discontent within the ANC.
“That political tension was firstly about the persecution of former president Zuma and his subsequent arrest,” Zikalala explained.
He pointed out that some of the lessons learnt from the riots was the importance of fostering peaceful co-existence between different communities in the province, something that had been one of the government’s major projects for nearly a year now, he added.
“Based on the prevailing conditions as we look to a year after the unrest in July and as we rebuild KZN, I can say there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Zikalala.
Reflecting on his term at the helm of government, with the administration at its mid-term, Zikalala said there had been notable strides, which included improvements in the quality of education.
He noted that the increase in the matric pass rate over the years, coupled with the high intake at tertiary institutions, was an illustration of a government that had done well in ensuring greater access to education for the province’s pupils.
While there had been setbacks for the ANC-led government, Zikalala maintained that the province’s citizens should have faith in the government which had gone out of its way to accommodate a range of role-players in its decision-making process.