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Zungu says ANC cannot ignore concern over the step-aside resolution

The uMlazi-born businessman, who has announced that he will bid for the ANC provincial chairperson position, said the step-aside resolution was flawed

Sandile Zungu at a media briefing on Tuesday. Picture: Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 20, 2022

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Durban - Businessman Sandile Zungu yesterday officially announced he was bidding to become provincial chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, saying his campaign had revealed that the party could not ignore the concern over the step-aside resolution.

Zungu, the owner of AmaZulu Football Club, is expected to run against the main contender for the chairperson position, incumbent Sihle Zikalala, and Finance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube and Nhlanhla Ngidi.

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The uMlazi-born businessman, who on Sunday told supporters in Ulundi that he had consulted many party leaders, including former president Jacob Zuma and former KZN premier Willies Mchunu, said the step-aside resolution was flawed.

“There is an overwhelming sense of discomfort with the step-aside resolution in the manner that it has been implemented. There is an overwhelming view that it is becoming a factional instrument to deal with those who are on the wrong side of the equation.”

The party took a resolution at the Nasrec elective conference in 2017 that party members facing serious charges should step aside until their matters were resolved by the courts, but the party has been divided over the implementation of the resolution and its subsequent amendments.

“For me the die is cast on the step-aside resolution because it is used incorrectly.”

He said there was a need for the ANC to operate in a manner that restored the confidence of ordinary people in the organisation.

“If we emerge victorious, we will be looking at the step-aside resolution – for it to be looked at fundamentally, in a manner that allows for equity, fairness and for justice to be seen. There is an overwhelming view in KwaZulu-Natal that the resolution will be put to the test and it will be rejected. I have no doubt about that,” he said.

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Zungu said in spite of the challenges in KZN, his interaction across the province had revealed that the party was “alive and well”.

“People on the ground are clamouring for change and this is why there are so many candidates challenging for the chairperson position. I am putting my hand up because I want to make a difference,” said Zungu.

He said he was impressed by the quality of candidates vying for the provincial leadership position.

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“Yes, there is contestation but everyone wants to see a unified ANC in the province. The only issue is deliberate slander where one candidate tries to assassinate the character of another,” he said.

Earlier in his briefing, Zungu said if elected he would push for electoral reform in the party.

“We have been campaigning on the ground, and ordinary members feel disempowered in choosing who should lead them,” Zungu said.

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He said a fresh approach was needed in KZN ANC politics.

He said slates did not build and foster camaraderie, but instead fostered divisions. “Slates are the products of incumbents, we can’t take accountability for what has happened, but if we emerge at the provincial conference, we will work hard to see that the issue of slates is done away with,” he said.

He said the party at a provincial and national level needed to move away from slates, away from gatekeeping and away from ownership of branches by private individuals.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga, said that while he did not know Zungu well, his credentials as a successful businessman meant that he would have great potential for the party at a national level.

“He is a smart businessman and he will have to stand somewhere where he will not be overburdened by the factional battles in KZN. Politics is evolving and I do not see him as someone who will play factional politics in the crass manner that it is being played.

“We need to be realistic about the country and the next generation of political leaders. Zungu is a businessman and he will not do anything to hurt business…but can he rise above factionalism?” Mathekga asked.

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