POLITICS
18/05/2018 12:20 SAST | Updated 18/05/2018 12:20 SAST

No End In Sight As ANC KZN Conference Gets Postponed... Indefinitely

Only five of the 11 regions have held their conferences, as factions battle it out to the bitter end for leadership in the province.

Rogan Ward / Reuters
Leader of the disbanded ANC KZN provincial executive, Sihle Zikalala.

There is no date in sight for the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal's elective conference — a gathering that was expected to bring some form of unity to warring factions in the province.

But the conference has been called off, as the provincial task team set up by the party's national leadership has been unable to quell tensions between Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa supporters.

Only five of KZN's 11 regions have met to finalise their conferences. The remaining meetings, marred by violence in some cases, have been postponed indefinitely. Last month, a regional conference in the Moses Mabhida area was called off, after factions clashed outside a consultative meeting in Howick. Ramaphosa supporters tried to gain access to the meeting, but were confronted by armed bodyguards.

In addition, a string of political killings have stunned the ANC in KZN. Earlier this month, two members of the ANC and one member of the Inkatha Freedom Party were killed.

The provincial conference was initially expected to go ahead this weekend.

ANC KZN member and known Ramaphosa backer Sthembiso Mshengu said "he would be lying" if he knew when the provincial conference would be held.

"We have only had five successful regional conferences so far. The organisation internally has a divergence of views about who should lead the province. But there are efforts to reach each other on these matters," Mshengu said.

A source close to the Zuma loyalists accused the ANC under Ramaphosa of stalling the conference.

"The [provincial executive committee] was disbanded for factional reasons after Ramphosa became president of the ANC in December. They thought they could simply split us up and put a team in place to run the province. But now that our supporters are saying, 'Let us elect a new leadership,' they are slowing the process," he claimed.

"It is because they know they do not have enough support."

He said the task team, which includes a mix of leadership from both factions — including disbanded PEC chairman Sihle Zikalala and Ramaphosa loyalist Mike Mabuyakhulu — is unable to come to a compromise.

"You are expecting people who have different political ideologies to work together to lead a team in the province. They have made some headway obviously; we are trying to be united. But they must face the facts that only the ANC members can dictate who the new leadership must be. That process must be allowed to continue."