Premier almost ditched

2007-12-22 00:00

KWAZULU-Natal Premier S’bu Ndebele has managed to survive politically by just making it on to the ANC’s list of 80 national executive committee (NEC) members.

He is the only premier in the country to have made the list after receiving 1 472 votes putting him at number 75 on the 80-member NEC.

Political analysts say Ndebele was lucky to make the list, after it was expanded from 60 to 80 members.

Ndebele, the ANC provincial chair, fell out of favour with most ANC members, especially Jacob Zuma backers in the province, as he is perceived to be an ally of former ANC president Thabo Mbeki.

Delegates at the provincial general council (PGC) of the ANC held towards the end of last month wanted Ndebele’s name excluded from the list of 60 preferred candidates for the NEC list.

He was, however, retained after the intervention of senior leaders, who felt such a move would have led to an untenable fall-out.

Other nominees from the province who made it on to the list include Dr Zweli Mkhize, Bheki Cele, Ruth Ntshulana-Bhengu and Nathi Mthethwa. All four got more votes than Ndebele.

Mkhize, the MEC for Finance and Economic Development in the province, is a close friend of Zuma. He received 1 976 votes, which put him at position 24 on the list.

Mkhize is also the deputy chairman of the ANC in the province.

Transport MEC Cele has also been instrumental in Zuma’s campaign as the chairman of eThekwini region, the biggest ANC region in the province. He is number 26 on the list after being voted in by 1 950 delegates.

Ntshulana-Bhengu sits at number 39 with 1 729 votes. She is the deputy mayor of Ugu District Municipality. She is also an ardent Zuma backer and was very vocal in the months leading to the Polokwane conference.

Nathi Mthethwa, who was voted in at number 48 by 1 629 votes, is an ANC MP.

Mthethwa is also the chairman on the portfolio committee on Minerals and Energy.

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