Durban - KwaZulu-Natal's ANC chairperson, Sihle Zikalala, has pointed out the deepening factionalism that is crippling the party as he officially opens the 8th eThekwini Regional Conference on Saturday.
After long delays, the highly anticipated conference got under way just after 2 pm.
Thabani Nyawose, the current Speaker of eThekwini Municipality is contesting for the chairperson position, against former Mayor Zandile Gumede.
In his hour-long wide-ranging opening address, Zikalala said factionalism remained prevalent in the organisation, saying even at the conference delegates arrived in groups of factions.
"I have not heard songs about the progress we have made in the society as the organisation, we sing about people's names that represent your grouping.
“Have you ever taken time to think about the ANC, not your faction?
“When last did you leave the ANC branch meeting and went straight home without going to your faction to discuss the meeting, we are more loyal to our faction than the ANC," Zikalala told the delegates who packed Durban's ICC.
Zandile Gumede faction has finally arrived at the ICC. They now going inside the venue after a long wait. Members of the Youth and Women's Legue appear to be on her side. Gumede is not attending the conference because of step aside @SundayTribuneSA League pic.twitter.com/YefBq4dxif— Sboniso Mngadi™ (@sbonisomngadi) April 9, 2022
He further took a swipe at the factions who appeared to be advocating for Radical Economic Transformation (RET) but did nothing about it.
He said the RET was an ANC policy and should be linked to any faction within the organisation.
"We have not seen any implementation of the RET but people are talking about it, what have they done to implement it?“ Zikalala asked.
He further highlighted the challenges facing the party, including the decline in support during the 2021 local government elections.
He warned that 2024 was around the corner and pleaded with all the party members to play their part to revive the party.
Zikalala said the ANC dominance would be history in 2024 if its members fail introspection.
“For the first time in history, the ANC achieved less than 50% results nationally in the local government elections. The party lost its outright majority in many municipalities.
“Our poor performance is clearly derived from objective and subjective matters. Our failure to heed our failure to implement the policies are reasons the masses decided not to vote.
“We must ask ourselves what caused the ANC to lose its majority. If we fail to do that, 2024 will be history.
“Our movement has lost the confidence of the masses because the ANC is perceived socially distanced, corrupt with nepotism, arrogancy, elitism, factionalism, manipulation of organisational processes, abuse of state power and putting self-interest above the interest of the people.
“These are subjective weaknesses that have affected us as an organisation.
Equally, we must pay attention to objective factors that exist in the society, the failure to render service delivery, the high level of unemployment and poverty create disillusionment among the people. As a result, many people will find it difficult to participate in any democratic processes if they are engulfed by poverty, therefore, these are the issues we must address,“ he said.
Zikalala said the conference was not about who emerged victorious, but was a review of policies and resolutions that seek to improve the lives of the people.
"We must deal with the tendency of leaders who meet outside the framework of the organisation, lobbying others to vote for them,” he said.
The conference continues.