13/05/2017 13:59 SAST | Updated 13/05/2017 15:16 SAST

The Campaign Trail For ANC Presidency Is Heating Up In KZN

The province has been the ANC's key performer since 2006.

More than 150 000 ANC members are based in KZN alone.
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More than 150 000 ANC members are based in KZN alone.
The presence of presidential hopefuls Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will certainly be felt in Kwa-Zulu Natal over the next few days.

Both ANC members will be speaking in the province up until Tuesday, in what seems like a bid to entrench their names in the party's stronghold region ahead of the official campaigning kick-off in June.

But why is KZN such a hot topic in ANC politics? The answer is simple, more than 150 000 ANC members are based in the province alone -- that's almost a quarter of the party's national membership figures.

Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the South African Democratic Teachers' Union's Gala Dinner at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban tonight.

Dlamini-Zuma, who has already made appearances in Pietermaritzburg and the Moses Mabhida region this week, will on Sunday address a congregation at the Saint Catherine Roman Church in Bulwer and on Monday, will attend the renaming ceremony of the KwaSani Municipality. The Municipality in the Harry Gwala region will now be named after her.

President Jacob Zuma will also be in his home province on Sunday, joining the congregants of the Abundant Life Church and other worshippers at a service in Durban to pray for peace and prosperity.

KZN is certainly a force to be reckoned within the run for presidency of the ANC. It served as the foundation for President Zuma's second term in office. It has been the party's key performer since 2006, even though numbers have dropped significantly since then.

Dlamini-Zuma will certainly be a strong contender in KZN -- leaving the task to Ramaphosa to sway support.

Her ex-husband still has strong support in the province, especially in the rural areas. That will be Dlamini-Zuma's big advantage. Another would be her overwhelming support from the Women's League in the province. But there has been a rapture in the factions – and that is where Ramaphosa will seek to come in.

Other provinces are much more fluid, some said to be firmly in the grasp of either of the two candidates. But it is too early to tell. What is certain is that the biggest battlefield will be KZN and, while Dlamini-Zuma will strive to keep her support there, Ramaphosa has plenty room to take control.