ANC regions divided ahead of 11 elective conferences
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Durban - As power struggles intensify in ANC regions ahead of elective conferences and local government elections, several slates vying for power have emerged in 6 of the 11 regions.
Most of the slates began circulating late last month when the ANC’s NEC announced that regions and provinces could start preparing for their conferences.
Worth noting is that the slates are showing previously managed divisions in regions that were behind ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of the 2017 Nasrec conference.
For weeks Independent Media has been gathering information about the state of regions and found that only four regions appear not to have slates. The regions are Josiah Gumede (Uthukela), Harry Gwala, Lower South Coast and Inkosi Bhambatha (UMzinyathi).
In all the other regions, different slates have emerged, pitting former friends against each other. The first shocking slate emerged from the Mzala Nxumalo region (Zululand) a former stronghold of Ramaphosa, where the current regional chairperson and mayor of UPhongolo, Sbusiso Mhlongo had been “dumped” by his comrades.
In the new slate vying for power, Mhlongo has been replaced by Khaya Nxumalo. Interestingly, the slate decided to keep Zakhele Buthelezi as the next regional secretary. Buthelezi was Mhlongo’s running mate when three years ago they toppled the late Sipho Nkosi who was seen to be pro-Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma (NDZ) ahead of the Nasrec conference.
Mhlongo downplayed the “exclusion” as a demonstration of democracy by ANC branches and said all will be decided at the conference.
“The term of the current leadership at Mzala Nxumalo comes to an end in May. According to the ANC constitution, ANC branches are allowed to have choices regarding what they want. Now, in our region alone, I have seen three slates and they are all contesting for power,” Mhlongo said.
His former running mate, Buthelezi, declined to comment on the matter saying the questions should be posed to those who are circulating the slate.
“I can’t talk on such matters as I believe they represent views of those who would have created such slates as you refer to,” Buthelezi said.
In Newcastle’s eMalahleni region, the current chairperson and mayor, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba is facing stiff competition from a group of former ANC youth league leaders led by Senzo Khumalo.
Mhlaba is one of the leaders who supported Ramaphosa prior to the Nasrec conference.
Khumalo is believed to have mobilised all those opposed to Mahlaba’s “autocratic rule” to help him to gain power.
Mahlaba declined to comment when asked about this early this month.
In another former Ramaphosa stronghold of the Far North region (Umkhanyakude), Bethuel Mthethwa’s long rule is facing stiff opposition from his former confidant, Siphile Mdaka. Independent Media was unable to get hold of both Mthethwa and Mdaka for comments.
However, it is not only pro-Ramaphosa’s regions facing division as Moses Mabhida region (Umgungundlovu) which was behind NDZ at Nasrec, it is facing its own divisions. In the region, former friends, Mthandeni Dlungwane (former KZN MEC for Education) is facing a challenge from his former regional secretary, Mzi Zuma.
Zuma wants to take over from Dlungwane and he has since roped the mayor of Richmond, Samora Ndlovu, to join him as his regional secretary running mate. Ndlovu confirmed that he has been lobbied by branches to run with Zuma.
“I have been consulted by some branches regarding that slate you are asking me about. That’s all I can say,” said Ndlovu.
As previously reported, in eThekwini, Zandile Gumede is up against a slate led by Thabani Nyawose, another Ramaphosa man in KZN.
In the Musa Dladla region (Mpangeni-Richards Bay), the pro-Ramaphosa leadership led by Mdu Mhlongo, the mayor of Richards Bay, has fragmented as his deputy, Thembeka Mchunu, the wife of minister Senzo Mchunu, now appears in a slate that wants the incumbent out.