WATCH: ANC eThekwini factionalism plays out as Cyril Ramaphosa visits region to campaign
DURBAN – The deep divisions within the ANC’s eThekwini region which the ruling party has tried to suppress for many years yesterday played out in front of party president, Cyril Ramaphosa and left him embarrassed.
This happened on Thursday afternoon at Hammarsdale township, west of Durban when Ramaphosa visited the area to lend his voice and political support ahead of a crucial by-election where the party is facing stiff competition from the EFF.
The region has been divided along factions loyal to former eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede and another led by Thabani Nyawose.
In the run-up to Nasrec in 2017, the Gumede faction was pro NDZ while the Nyawose faction was firmly behind the CR17 faction of Ramaphosa.
As early as 2pm on Thursday, about 2 000 members of the party were eagerly awaiting Ramaphosa's arrival.
Singing Struggle songs and waving ANC flags, no factional songs were heard in the crowd.
Things suddenly changed when Ramaphosa landed in the township.
Accompanied by Gumede, KZN ANC chairperson and Premier Sihle Zikalala and NEC (national executive committee) deployee in the province, Nocawe Mafu, Ramaphosa made his way to the venue of the rally.
As Ramaphosa was escorted by his security detail on his way to the venue where he addressed the rally, a public address system mounted on an ANC branded vehicle bleated Struggle songs.
Unexpectedly, a sizeable part of the ANC crowd started to repeatedly chant slogans in favour of Gumede, a popular figure who was once a mayor of eThekwini and was dislodged in 2018 when she was accused of corruption.
To prove Gumede's popularity, every time her name was mentioned and when she had to welcome guests, she got the loudest cheer.
As Gumede, a member of the eThekwini regional task team (RTT) Zikalala and Ramaphosa addressed the rally, no one addressed the issue of factionalism.
Instead, all three senior ruling party members focused on urging members to vote for their candidate when the by-election takes place on Monday.
Ramaphosa was expected to later take part in a meeting of the provincial executive committee meeting which would take place later at Coastlands hotel on Durban’s south beach.