Durban - The newly elected leadership of ANC eThekwini Region has distanced itself from the party’s grouping known as “Radical Economic Transformation (RET) forces” and pledged its full support to President Cyril Ramaphosa who was in the province in the wake of devastating floods.
The new structure led by Zandile Gumede as a chairperson was elected over the weekend, defeating Thabani Nyawose and his slate that was dubbed as Renewal Rebuild Unity (RRU) linked to Ramaphosa.
The RET forces are believed to be those who support former president Jacob Zuma, suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule and suspended MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus.
While Magashule and Niehaus were in Durban over the weekend, engaging with Gumede supporters, Musa Nciki, Regional Secretary, said it was a misleading and divisive narrative that the newly elected leadership were RET forces opposing Ramaphosa.
He said the newly elected leadership was on the ground supporting the president of the ANC and republic.
During Ramaphosa’s visit to various communities affected by floods in Durban, Gumede could be seen close to him and Premier Sihle Zikalala engaging with communities.
Gumede, a former mayor of eThekwini Municipality and now a Member of the Provincial Legislature was instructed to step aside from her deployment by the party after she was charged with fraud and corruption while she was a mayor. She is facing a string of charges emanating from a multimillion-rand Durban Solid Waste tender that was awarded in 2017.
“We unequivocally dispute the tabloids that have been spreading lies that this leadership of eThekwini Region is at loggerheads with the national leadership.
“We will dispute this propaganda and we will practically demonstrate by having frank, honest and politically matured relations with leaders from upper structures moving forward,” he said.
However, Nciki said they subscribe to the RET policy as a resolution of the party not faction.
“We want to state categorically that we are bound by ANC resolutions and the call for radical socio-economic transformation and return of our land to the people.
“We will be implementing these policies at our level and do not doubt that these will assist us in reducing poverty, unemployment and inequality as identified by the National Development Plan.
“However, we want to dispute the reports that this leadership is a ’RET Force Formation’ that is elected to remove Ramaphosa Forces. We belong to no force but the ANC. Our focus is unity and regaining lost ground by us on our people.”
Nciki admitted that the infighting within the ANC cast the party its outright majority in eThekwini and vowed that they would not entertain factional battles that were “self-destructive”.
“The continuous bickering and infighting have contributed to the ANC’s recent losses, we are therefore not interested in entering the factional battlefield that is self-destructive. Our people have punished us in eThekwini Region and decided not to vote due to these infightings, continuing with them will diminish the little voter support we have.
“Our focus is unity and regaining, this is what will keep us busy. All conference resolutions will influence our policy position and direction,” he added.