JOHANNESBURG – ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded a bruising KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) ANC meeting between eThekwini regional leaders and the National Working Committee as he seeks to establish whether the province is ready for a long-overdue elective conference.
KZN is currently in the spotlight with various challenges facing the organization in the province. Individuals in regional leadership positions who are close to developments have revealed that horns were locked as both sides refused to budge on which direction the party should take to deal with the leadership conundrum.
The ANC in KZN currently does not have a permanent Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) after the previous leadership was disbanded by the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
KZN constitutes more than 20% of the ANC’s support base and members in the province are allegedly furious at the national leadership, which is seen to be desperately trying to bring EFF leader Julius Malema into the fold.
Under the leadership of provincial chair Sihle Zikalala, most KZN ANC members are fully behind Jacob Zuma who is currently fighting his legal battle at the Durban High Court.
Some regional ANC leaders who were present at the meeting with Ramaphosa revealed to Africa News 24-7 that things may get chaotic because the national leadership of the ANC is viewed as reactionary in how it is currently dealing with provinces that support Zuma.
One of the leaders of the eThekwini region who spoke to Africa News 24-7 on condition of anonymity said the meeting between them and the national leadership did not go down well, as talk of unity fell on deaf ears.
“The lack of having a provincial executive committee has continued to exacerbate tensions as individuals have their view on how the NEC should implement the resolutions taken at the 54th elective conference in Nasrec,” the leader said.
A regional executive member who spoke to Africa News 24-7 said: “The majority of the branches that elected the leadership of the province in 2015 are being suffocated and there are people who are organising themselves trying to portray an image that we are not ready for conference. We reiterate that we have the mechanisms to deal with the challenges but there remains an agenda to continue to suffocate those supported by branches.”
Others who spoke out said tempers flared when Ramaphosa tried to intervene by holding an urgent meeting between eThekwini branch members and the National Working Committee. The situation was so tense that Ramaphosa had to postpone a press conference on the matter which was scheduled to take place yesterday.
Provincial leaders said they are also upset at the fact that the NEC allowed factionalism to develop in such a way that the courts ended up interfering in the democratic affairs of the ruling party.
Another member commented: “The constitution is clear about the three-year term. The NWC needs to do assessment first before taking a decision but we are hearing rumours that these conferences will not be held because the majority of the branches still support the old PEC,” he said.