KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC and former ANC provincial secretary Senzo Mchunu. Picture: Terry Haywood

KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC and former ANC provincial secretary Senzo Mchunu has distanced himself from suggestions that he has aligned himself with forces seeking to topple Jacob Zuma as president of the party when it has its elective indaba in Mangaung late this year.

Mchunu said on Monday he had noted with “grave concern” the continued publication of stories linking him to the discussions in the lead-up to the Mangaung conference.

He said it had been widely reported that he was a member of a group alleged to be challenging the ANC’s national top six.

Reports during the ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective congress suggested Mchunu’s name was on a list for a presidential challenge allegedly spearheaded by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, a member of the party’s national executive committee.

This list was said to be in circulation, to feature people who backed Sexwale to become president, and to include ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe as a candidate to become deputy president, Thandi Modise as chairwoman, Fikile Mbalula as secretary-general, Mchunu as deputy secretary-general, and Paul Mashatile as treasurer-general.

Mchunu said these reports were “peddled” by liars.

“I want to state categorically that I distance myself from any such discussions with Comrade Tokyo Sexwale or any other person pertaining to the list or any matters relating to the national conference of the ANC to be held later this year.

“These persistent reports smack of a well-crafted campaign aimed at destabilising the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, thereby creating doubt and mistrust within the leadership and the membership.”

Mchunu, who had been touted before the ANC’s KZN conference as a possible challenger for the provincial chairmanship and deputy chairmanship, positions held by Zweli Mkhize and Willies Mchunu, said he was convinced that KZN stood united under one leadership and acted as a collective.

“The evidence of this unity has recently been demonstrated during regional conferences and the provincial conference that was concluded last week. Comrade Zuma even commended our province for its maturity, during his keynote address at the conference.

“I wish to urge our fellow comrades to be vigilant and be on the lookout for any members who continue to peddle lies that are hell-bent on creating divisions.”