Dhlomo to lead in Durban

2012-03-19 00:00

IT’S all systems go for the re-election of KwaZulu-Natal ANC leader Zweli Mkhize, and ultimately Jacob Zuma as party president for a second terrm, after Sibongiseni Dhlomo won the leadership of the ANC’s biggest region in the country, eThekwini.

Political analysts said Dhlomo’s win and last week’s victory of another Zuma-Mkhize team ally, Alpha Shelembe at the Moses Mabhida (Pietermaritzbug) region, signalled that the two incumbents were likely to retain their positions as national and provincial ANC leaders, respectively.

At this weekend’s eThekwini regional election, Dhlomo beat former ANC Youth League KZN chairperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela by a mere 25 votes. The three-day conference was attended by over 500 delegates.

Dhlomo mustered 275 votes against Ntombela’s 250.

At almost 90 000 members, eThekwini is the biggest ANC region in the country and will have the most delegates at the party’s national conference in Mangaung in December.

Independent political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) said another boost for the Zuma-Mkhize camp was the recent election of Shelembe as chairperson of the second most powerful ANC region in KZN.

All candidates aligned to Dhlomo beat those on the Ntombela slate. Phelelani Mshungu mustered 281 votes against Stanley Xulu’s 238 for deputy chairperson, Bhekithemba Ntshangase’s 264 against Mthunzi Dlamini’s 255 for regional secretary. Monica Jama scraped home by a mere 16 votes for deputy regional secretary, receiving 268 votes against Minah Lesoma’s 252. Zandile Gumede polled 264 votes against Lindiwe Mhlongo’s 253 to take the position of regional treasurer.

At the conference it was also clear that most delegates were still angry about the alleged assassinations of former regional secretary Sbusiso Sibiya and councillor Wiseman Mshibe, who were murdered mysteriously last year.

Inside the conference venue delegates apparently aligned to the Dhlomo camp, sang songs asking who had killed Sibiya and Mshibe.

Ndlovu told The Witnessthat Dhlomo and his team’s reported anti-corruption stance — and using this as their trump-card — had helped them win, given that Ntombela and his team had vigorously lobbied and appeared to have the support of most ANC branches in the run-up to the conference.

Despite a number of problems engulfing eThekwini, Dhlomo yesterday denied that he was inheriting a problematic and divided region.

He said there would be serious engagement with Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube to resolve the impasse in the eThekwini municipality over the findings of the Manase forensic investigation. The report has implicated several senior officials in alleged mismanagement and graft.

Ntombela reportedly conceded defeat.

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