Zuma supporters in control

2008-06-22 00:00

Supporters of ANC president, Jacob Zuma, made a clean sweep of all the top five positions during the sixth provincial conference of the ANC held in Pietermaritzburg over the weekend.

Zweli Mkhize was elected unanimously as new chairman of the party while former provincial chairman of the SACP and another close Zuma-associate, Willies Mchunu, was elected deputy chairman.

MEC for Safety and Community Liaison, Bheki Cele, who was nominated from the conference floor failed to garner the required 25% of the votes, which would have enabled him to stand for election and battle it out with Mchunu.

Cele only received 55 of the required 241 nominations.

Another Zuma supporter, Senzo Mchunu was re-elected as provincial secretary while Sihle Zikalala, the former secretary-general of the ANC Youth League was elected deputy provincial secretary. Health MEC, Peggy Nkonyeni was elected provincial treasurer.

Mkhize, who replaces Premier S’bu Ndebele as provincial chairman, said that his election into the position while Ndebele is at the helm of provincial government will not result in a leadership crisis.

“For any skeptics and pessimists, I wish to announce that there is no conflict of roles, no leadership crisis [and] no two centres of power. While we can refer [to this] as a change in leadership, in reality what we have witnessed can more aptly be characterised as continuity of change. [This] embodies stability and acceptance of previous achievements as a solid starting point and foundation for future plans,” Mkhize said during his maiden speech as provincial leader.

The new leadership of the ANC, Mkhize added, will offer all the necessary support to the provincial government and to municipalities. “We want to ensure good governance amongst all the government and municipal structures and support the fight against fraud and corruption in the public service.”

Mkhize showered praises on members of the outgoing provincial executive committee (PEC) and on Ndebele.

“He shall forever remain an integral part of the leadership collective with a tremendous contribution to make,” Mkhize said of Ndebele.

He said the new leadership will have to engage with traditional and religious leaders and with NGOs while stressing that it is important for the party to “embrace” minority populations.

The new PEC has been hailed as a balanced leadership with 12 of the 25 members being women. There is also good representation of the ANC’s tripartite alliance partners.

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