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Why ANC should not celebrate filling up Harry Gwala stadium - expert

2016-06-14 08:26

Durban – The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday thanked the people of the Moses Mabhida region for their overwhelming support at its election manifesto launch on Sunday.

The party managed to fill up the 12 000-seater Harry Gwala stadium with more than 40 000 people.

But, asks Zakhele Ndlovu - political analyst and senior lecturer at the university of KwaZulu-Natal - does the party really have much reason to celebrate?

ANC supporters at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday. (All photos by Amanda Khoza, News24)

Last month the ANC battled to get the expected 100 000 people into the 46 000-seater Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. The party only managed to fill up two-thirds of the stadium.

In KZN President Jacob Zuma was scheduled to address a National Prayer Day at the end of April that was postponed to May after fears that branches in the ANC were going to boycott the Kings Park Stadium event.

It was also alleged that the party failed to mobilise enough people to fill the 32 000-seater stadium.

Members not enemies

When he finally addressed the prayer day, party members still did not fill the stadium to capacity. On Sunday the party boasted on Twitter that they had.

"Considering the political tensions and divisions in the province, I think they were scared to go to a bigger venue. They did not fill King's Park Stadium and I am sure they feared that people would boycott,” said Ndlovu.

He said he was disappointed by the manner in which Zuma handled recent political killings in the province.

Zuma told ANC supporters on Sunday that regardless of who the candidate was, members were not enemies.

"We cannot treat each other as though we do not belong to the same movement. If you did not get an opportunity this time around, there is a next time," he said.

He condemned the killings, which have claimed the lives of about 10 ANC members.

Zuma not firm enough

"Let us unite against those who are trying to sow mayhem through killing people in the province," Zuma said at the time.

But Ndlovu does not think Zuma was firm enough.

"He could have taken a harder stance on the political killings in the province, but he failed to do so. In the past month there have been several killings and he had the platform to deal decisively with the acts, send out a message that the police will make arrests soon and assure people that he was concerned."

Ndlovu questioned why few of those who were allegedly linked to political killings had been arrested.

In light of the recent developments in the province which saw Premier Willies Mchunu reshuffle his cabinet earlier this month, Ndlovu said the plan to have Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma elected president was coming into formation.

"The service delivery protests that we are seeing, they have nothing to do with service protests, they have everything to do with the candidate lists for the elections. Many people who are in Senzo Mchunu's camp feel marginalised, but many of the leaders in the province don't care about the future, they are only interested in the now."

Premier league

Ndlovu said changes in dynamics within the organisation, including those that came out of the KZN regional and provincial conferences, gave birth to a grouping in KwaZulu-Natal that is aligned to the "premier league" lobby group, which wants to see Dlamini-Zuma emerge as president. The "premier league" reportedly consists of the ANC chairpersons in the Free State, North West and Mpumalanga.  

"I think if she does not become president, Zweli Mkhize will be the next president."

KZN MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube on her bike.

He said, at the moment, Zuma's "premier league" was much stronger than those supporting Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.  

Focusing on Gauteng, Ndlovu said the province's constituency presented unique challenges for the ANC.

"The reason why Gauteng has been seen to be changing its tune lately is because they are the only province that... generally had people who were well read, paid tax and they have expressed their unhappiness about Zuma in the past.

"So the ANC in the province needs to tread carefully."

Read more on: anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  jacob zuma  |  pietermaritzburg  |  politics  |  local elections 2016

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