Durban - KwaZulu-Natal ANC leaders have expressed hope that the outcome of the elective conference held at the weekend would bring peace in the province that has been crippled by deep divisions and political killings.
The leaders, who represent warring factions, have warned that the peace deal reflected in the election of the new provincial leadership would not be implemented overnight at regional and branch levels.
Mtuza Mkhize, leader of the disgruntled group in Moses Mabhida Region, said he was happy with the balance in the top five leadership and the provincial executive committee.
“It is made up of members of CR17, NDZ and unity slate. This balanced PEC has potential to help us to unite structures and members of the ANC in the province,” said Mkhize.
CR17 and NDZ were the terms used when President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma contested the presidency of the ANC in December. The re-election of Sihle Zikalala as the provincial chairperson and former economic development MEC Michael Mabuyakhulu as his deputy brought renewed hope that the province would unite in time for the general elections next year.
The two leaders had been leading the warring factions whose squabbles saw the provincial conference being postponed several times and also interdicted in court.
Mkhize said the weekend conference was similar to the party’s national conference held in Nasrec late last year.
“The national (executive) had been able to provide leadership in how we should go about building unity. It did this in the form of the national executive committee and also did the same thing in the government deployment,” he said.
“I can see this unity in the province cascading down to the grassroots,” he added.
Mkhize’s camp had previously complained that while Zikalala and Mabuyakhulu were working together in the provincial task team to build unity, at the regional and branch levels aggrieved members continued to be sidelined by Zikalala’s camp.
Zikalala said at the weekend that unity would help the party to “swiftly move to concentrate” on the campaign for next year’s elections.
Zikalala, who after taking over as the chairperson after the 2015 conference removed Mabuyakhulu as the economic development MEC, said “no member would be removed from a position of deployment just because he held a different leadership preference in the elective process”.
ANCYL provincial chairperson Kwazi Mshengu, whose structure was linked to Zikalala’s camp, also hoped the outcome of the conference would end factionalism in the province.
“There are many challenges that we have to deal with, but the first step was to hold the conference so that we can have authorised and legitimate leadership to complete the task of uniting the party,” he said.
Mshengu said he did not expect any court challenge to nullify the results of the conference, as was the case in 2015.
“Comrades have accepted the results, and there were no signs of grieving as in the 2015 (nullified Pietermaritzburg provincial) conference, where there were clear signs of court challenge. This time around everyone is satisfied,” he said.
Newly-elected ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said his office will put in place a new structure that would specialize in dealing speedily with grievances raised by party and community members.
The former provincial spokesperson, Ntuli said this would help to unite the party and regain its lost credibility among members of the public.