President Cyril Ramaphosa will for the first time meet with party branches in the troubled eThekwini region. Picture: AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

Durban - In his capacity as the head of the African National Congress (ANC), President Cyril Ramaphosa will for the first time meet with party branches in the troubled eThekwini region.

The meeting is expected to take place on Thursday afternoon, the party said in a statement released on Wednesday.  

According to the statement, the meeting will be held at the Durban City hall and would, among other things, focus “on unity within the organisation and governance issues.” Ethekwini region, which has around 70 000 members, is considered to be the biggest and most influential region of the party nationwide. 

“The President of the African National Congress, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, will on Thursday, 17 October 2019, engage with party structures in the eThekwini Region. Among other things, President Ramaphosa will also engage ANC structures on unity within the organisation and governance issues,” read the statement.

Ramaphosa's visit comes amid tensions in the region as it approaches a crucial elective conference that is expected to be held at the end of the year. The contenders for the vacant throne are Zandile Gumede who was recently axed as eThekwini mayor and Thabani Nyawose, a fervent backer of Ramaphosa. Last week, tensions boiled in the region when the Hawks and the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) pounced on Gumede to preserve some of her assets until her corruption case is concluded. Her supporters claimed that the raids were part of a plot to derail her campaign as a “frontrunner”. 

Independent Kwa-Zulu Natal political analyst, Thabani Khumalo, said the visit would be very helpful to foster elusive unity in the troubled region as Ramaphosa has shown at national level where he leads that he wants the party to be united.

“The visit by Ramaphosa is a very significant one. At the present moment, matters are addressed along factional lines in the region. Even those who are talking about unity they are doing it for their own interests as they want to divide leadership positions among themselves while divisions in the branches are not resolved,” Khumalo said. 

Khumalo added that stability in structures of the party in the region would make it for Mxolisi Kaunda and his team, to run the metro of 4 million residents. 

Political Bureau