ANC takes campaigns to Zululand

2011-05-02 00:00

FOR the first time since the first democratic local government elections in KwaZulu-Natal 15 years ago, the ANC has shown an interest in capturing the elusive Zululand District Municipality (ZDM) in the May 18 local government elections.

In the past two weeks the ANC in the province has sent its high-profile campaign delegation to Zululand four times.

The first was the aborted ANC Youth League attempt to campaign in the neighbourhood of Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s KwaPhindangene homestead two weeks ago.

On the same weekend ANC’s provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, MEC for Education Senzo Mchunu and other provincial executive committee (PEC) members were at KwaGqikazi FET College where they welcomed more than 400 members.

Last Monday ANC provincial chairperson and KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize was in Ulundi to welcome more than 1 000 new members who had reportedly defected from the IFP and the National Freedom Party (NFP)in the area.

During the weekend the ANC Youth League resuscitated its aborted campaign in the eNkonjeni area of Mahlabathini by staging a successful motorcade campaign in Buthelezi’s neighbourhood.

More than 200 vehicles were in the ANC convoy that drove around Ulundi and the Mahlabathini area yesterday, broadcasting ANC electioneering messages through the loudhailers.

The previous time armed IFP supporters stopped the ANCYL entourage before it even entered the eNkonjeni road.

This time the convoy drove around Nkonjeni and came close to KwaPhindangene homestead.

Armed IFP supporters were this time confined to the driveway to the homestead after police prevented them from marching along the nearby main road.

A large force made up of different police units was monitoring the situation as the SA Police Force helicopter hovered overhead.

IFP Youth Brigade national chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa, who was part of the IFP crowd guarding KwaPhindangene, said they were not against the ANC campaigning in the Mahlabathini area, but were against them forcefully going to IFP president’s private residence “to canvass his wife and children” to join the ANC, in line with a threat made previously by the ANCYL president, Julius Malema.

“We are only against provocation and we will protect our president to the death if he is under any attack from the ANCYL, as he the president has made it clear that he does not want the youth league in his private home,” Hlengwa said.

Zikalala, who is an ANC leader in Mahlabathini, said the reason for intensifying the ANC campaign in Zululand is “to ensure that we liberate Zululand from IFP bondage”.

Also for the first time in the coming local government elections, ANC provincial spokesperson Makhosi Khoza confirmed that the ANC will be contesting all wards under the ZDM.

“We will also increase the number of our party agents in all voting stations under the ZDM as we want to ensure that the ANC does not lose a single vote through unscrupulous means.

“As some ZDM areas have been declared ‘hot-spots’, security will also be increased in most areas.

“We have also requested our members to maintain a high level of tolerance even when provoked by our opposition,” Khoza said.

It is likely that the IFP, which has held an overwhelming majority in the district, will battle for its survival following the breakaway from the IFP of its former national chairperson, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, who leads the NFP.

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