Zweli Mkhize may join the race to lead the ANC after being nominated by a KZN branch.

Durban - An ANC branch in Pongola, northern KwaZulu-Natal, has become the first branch in the province to declare intent to nominate ANC treasurer-general, Zweli Mkhize, to be the next party president.

Ntokozo Hadebe, branch chairperson, said: “We decided that comrade Zweli Mkhize must lead the wolf pack of our national leadership. This one is a deployment, we want him to be our president.”

Abaqulusi regional secretary, Richard Dlamini, said he was unaware if other branches were looking to nominate Mkhize.

He said although he heard the news via the media, he wasn’t surprised.

“Each and every branch of the ANC is at liberty to nominate whoever they believe can be a leader of the ANC.”

Dlamini said it was too early to know whether or not other branches in the region believed Mkhize was fit to lead the ANC.

“Once nominations open, we will know who commands support and how much that support is,”said Dlamini.

“Pongola has 15 branches. It’s just one branch that nominated Mkhize. We can’t assume that all branches are for Mkhize,” he said.

KwaZulu-Natal, the biggest and most influential province in the party is believed to be the stronghold of presidential hopeful Nkosa- zana Dlamini Zuma.

But political analyst, Somadoda Fikeni, said divisions on who should lead the ANC within the province meant there were no guarantees for Dlamini Zuma.

Fikeni said Mkhize’s name being added onto the list by a KZN branch, after former premier Senzo Mchunu endorsed ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and the province had called for Dlamini Zuma to lead, showed deep divisions. “We can’t say Dlamini Zuma is unstoppable in KZN. It is better to accept the reality that we will have a divided KZN going to the elective conference. The question is how deep those divisions are,” Fikeni said.

He added that Mkhize’s name appearing meant a split that could further weaken support for other presidential hopefuls gunning for support in the province.

Another political analyst, Bukani Mngoma, said the issue was broader than one branch indicating intent to nominate Mkhize.

“Lack of unity in KZN on who must lead the ANC means no candidate is assured of guarantees, even Dlamini Zuma.”

The ANC nominations officially open in September.

Mkhize did not respond to questions.

The Mercury