KZN’s precision-planned campaign pays off

2012-12-19 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL, the ANC’s largest province, has again delivered the party’s leadership to Jacob Zuma.

The province ran a strategic, precision-planned campaign and in the end it was KZN ANC’s slate of nominees who swept into victory by more than a two-thirds majority.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala and ANC KZN chairperson Zweli Mkhize have worked closely together to deliver the presidency to Zuma.

When they failed to persuade Kgalema Motlanthe not to challenge Zuma and to stand for re-election as party deputy president instead, they turned to ANC businessman Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zikalala is widely credited as having controlled the running of KZN’s provincial and regional conferences leading up to Mangaung with an iron fist.

Working with other provinces, KZN initially lobbied for a retention of the leadership elected in Polokwane in a bid to stave off any disunity.

However, this changed when it became clear that Motlanthe would challenge Zuma.

Zikalala said last night: “We are humbled that the view we had was embraced by the organisation as a whole, but as the president addressed, we are not seeing this as victory of the province.

“Its a victory of the ANC as the movement. As the organisation we don’t believe in the vanquished or those defeated.

“There was no other way we could elect leadership. This is a democratic process.”

He said they regarded those who lost the elections as cadres who had served the organisation with dedication.

On Tokyo Sexwale’s failed bid for deputy presidency of the party, he said: “If Tokyo were to be re-elected, we will have no problem in him being deployed to KZN.”

Sexwale was previously an ANC NEC member deployed in KZN.

Mkhize, who was elected treasurer-general yesterday, would only say he was grateful and humbled.

KZN officials told The Witness earlier that Mhize would remain premier, although he would have to vacate his chairmanship of the province if a constitutional amendment were accepted.

Political analysts credited the ANC in KZN with working with other like-minded provinces in pushing a solid campaign, prioritising unity within the organisation in the face of a weak campaign by the pro-change lobby, who were in favour of Motlanthe.

Analyst Aubrey Matshiqi said KZN ran a very solid campaign. “You can quibble with their methods, but they worked hard and from a solid base.”

Matshiqi added that Zuma’s victory was also partly due to the disarray in his opponents’ camp.

When Zuma’s name was announced as president, delegates from other provinces broke out in triumphant song and dance.

The KZN delegates quickly sat down and did not join in the derogatory singing directed at the losing side.

Nompumelelo Khanyile, of the Promise Nyoka branch in uMtshezi, earlier told The Witness that KZN delegates would remain disciplined even after the results were announced.

Moses Mabhida regional secretary Supa Zuma was kept busy fielding calls about the celebrations in Imbali, Edendale and Pietermaritzburg.

He said there would be no celebrations, but a prayer meeting, when the region’s delegates returned home.

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