Durban – With the date set for the ANC General Gizenga Mpanza (KwaDukuza) region elective conference, factions are getting ready for a massive showdown as one of the factions claimed the provincial leadership is taking sides.
The region, which is the third biggest region of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, is billed to hold its elective conference at the end of March.
One faction includes the former mayor of Mandeni Sphesihle Zulu who was forced out of his position when the community of the textile town staged a violent protest in March last year.
At the time, Zulu’s supporters claimed that the protest was clandestinely organised by his internal ANC opponents who wanted the position for themselves.
Zulu is gunning for the all-powerful position of regional secretary. This position will see him becoming the de-facto regional chief executive in charge of ANC deployees in towns such as Stanger, Mandeni, Maphumulo, and Ndwedwe.
The mooted regional chair of Zulu’s slate is Vusi “Mavayi” Mthethwa.
However, supporters of the Mthethwa-Zulu faction are crying foul, claiming that the provincial leadership is sabotaging it.
Their claims emanate from the recent suspension of 10 senior members of the party in the KwaDukuza sub-region. Among the suspended members are known lobbyist for the Mthethwa-Zulu camp, Sanele Mthiyane, and the KwaDukuza local municipality councillors who sabotaged the election of Phumlile Zulu to replace Ricardo Mthembu as mayor (of KwaDukuza).
“The camp of Sphe Zulu has been weakened by these suspensions and they suspect that the provincial leadership is behind this. To them the province wants the other camp led by Khonza Ngidi to win,” one party insider said.
Ngidi is leading a camp that includes murder convicted Musa Zondi. However, Zondi is appealing the ruling. The Ngidi camp is believed to support the election of Phumlile Zulu as mayor while the other camp does not.
Every time the council was to convene to elect her, suspended councillors would collapse the council by not showing up.
The collapsing of the council sitting drew the ire of ANC Youth League in the region. The regional ANCYL said one of their preferred candidates for the top regional positions, Lucky Makhathini was jobless because of that defiance.
The league is opposed to the Mthethwa-Zulu camp and is openly supporting Ngidi’s camp. In a swipe aimed at Zulu on Saturday last week, the league said the investigation in Mandeni where Zulu was forced out as mayor must be concluded in order “to either absolve the man in question (Zulu) or prove the community correct.”
During a violent protest last year, community members alleged that Zulu was abusing municipal funds.
Zulu (Sphesihle) confirmed to Independent Media on Wednesday that indeed he is running for the powerful regional position after being approached by several branches and other leagues of the ANC within the region.
“Yes, I was approached, starting from my own branch to be available for the position of regional secretary… As a member of the ANC who dedicated his life to the party, I am available to do any work the party asks me to do. It’s not about only being available to be regional secretary but any work the party wants me to do. I was available when the ANC sent me to the youth structure, to be a councillor, to be a mayor and now the speaker of Ilembe,” Zulu said.
However, Zulu could not be drawn to discuss the issue of the suspensions of members believed to be his lobbyists and the alleged interference by the provincial leadership.
The spokesperson of the ANC in KZN, Ricardo Mthembu denied that the suspension of the 10 has to do with the upcoming. He said while it may have coincided with the it, the party was exerting its authority over wayward members.
“It is not true. Sometimes things do coincide and in this case it may have happened that their suspension came when we were talking about conferences, but this is about who thinks. It’s just that the organisation felt that they have broken some regulations of the ANC. Again, their suspension does not mean they have been found guilty, they will be given an opportunity that may clear them or find them guilty. So, what is happening is not strange,” Mthembu said.