ANC tightens grip in KZN

2012-10-22 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL’S 2012 audited members’ figures show the region is one of four out of 11 in the province boasting more than 30 000 ANC members.

Collectively, eThekwini (Durban), Moses Mabhida (Pietermaritzburg area), the Lower South Coast and Musa Dladla region have 211 733 members out of a provincial total of 331 820.

Overall, the province has seen a surge in its membership by 80 000 this year alone.

The Musa Dladla region, which includes Nkandla, where President Jacob Zuma lives, boasts 38 426 members, 600 more than their target set for 2012, according to the KwaZulu-Natal ANC office.

Although no pronouncement has yet been made, it is highly likely the region will come out in support of Zuma to retain his leadership of the party beyond the elective conference.

It is anticipated the region will send about 100 delegates of the more than 900 expected to come from the province.

Political analyst Professor Chris Isike, acting head of the politics department at the University of Zululand, said the ANC has been making inroads into KwaZulu-Natal since 2004.

“The ANC is seen as more liberal than the IFP. As people become more educated and start looking at delivery rather than historical support, those sympathetic to the IFP will see the ANC as the only viable option compared to the other political parties, and this is further strengthened by the influence of Jacob Zuma,” said Isike.

He said the ANC’s ability to work with the likes of the National Freedom Party in the province has further strengthened its image, showing it had the ability to work with other parties in order to meet service delivery mandates.

He said, although it is a fair bit off, “the struggle sentiment” that has been such a part of politics in South Africa is waning and voters, particularly young voters, look towards service delivery over traditional support patterns that have dominated the province’s political landscape.

“The ANC is forming a stronghold in KZN and it has mobilised its support,” said Isike.

He agreed that the party has had a better delivery record in KZN compared to other provinces, further strengthening its position.

Both prior to, and after, 1994, much of northern KZN was dominated by the IFP, particularly in the former Bantustan KwaZulu homelands.

In 2011 the ANC, for the first time in South Africa’s democratic history, took control of the majority of Zululand by popular vote, forcing its age-old nemesis, the IFP, into just two local municipalities.

Thamsanqa Sibiya, Musa Dladla’s spokesperson, said after 2004 there was a shift away from the violence that had plagued provincial politics and traditional “no-go zones” opened up.

“We moved away from the violence that dominated the political landscape in the province and all of a sudden people could vote for whom they wanted without fear of retribution. We have 96 branches in our region,” said Sibiya.

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