An ANC supporter holds a flag of the ANC while the President Jacob Zuma addresses ANC Gauteng Cadre Assembly in Pretoria. Picture: Phill Magakoe

KwaZulu-Natal - The African National Congress chooses its leaders on the basis of the work they do and not because they make news headlines, the ANC's KwaZulu-Natal provincial chairman Zweli Mkhize said on Sunday.

“We choose our leaders on the basis of the work that we see. We do not choose simply because some one appears on television or is on the front page of any newspaper,” he told a cadres forum at the University of Zululand.

He rejected a recent Mail&Guardian newspaper report that Deputy Defence Minister Thabang Makwetla had said in an interview that ANC members had been turned into “voting cattle”.

Mkhize said ANC branches made their decision on the party's leadership and that delegates to were not “herded” to vote in a particular way.

“We have made our nominations. We stand by them,” he said.

Mkhize later told reporters that whatever was decided at Mangaung would be accepted by KwaZulu-Natal delegates.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has nominated President Jacob Zuma to lead the party with businessman and national executive committee member Cyril Ramaphosa as his deputy.

It has nominated Gwede Mantashe to stay on as secretary-general with and Jessie Duarte as his deputy, Mkhize as treasurer general instead of Matthews Phosa, and Baleka Mbethe for another term as national chairwoman.

Mkhize and provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said that although the national leadership contest was important, it was not the sole item of importance on the agenda of the party's 53rd national elective conference.

They said KwaZulu-Natal delegates would be disciplined and humble when voting at the conference.

Of the almost 4500 delegates who will attend the conference in Mangaung, 974 will come from KwaZulu-Natal.

Zikalala said the KwaZulu-Natal delegates would ask the party to look at various policies concerning mining and import tariffs.

The wholesale nationalisation of the mining sector was also not on the cards, but the party wanted to see greater protection of natural resources.

He said it should not be that resources were simply mined and exported, but that the resources should processed into finished products.

“We don't want investments that are dependent on foreign trade only,” he said.

The ANC KwaZulu-Natal also wants the issue of import tariffs to be discussed.

“We are saying that tariffs need to be increased on products that can be made in South Africa.”

He said that the ANC would not “embark on economic policies haphazardly”.

President Jacob Zuma also arrived at the cadres forum to loud cheers and singing, but his address to the forum was not open to the media. - Sapa