Two centres of power after vote for provincial chairman Zikalala may become KZN MEC

2015-11-18 06:00
Sihle Zikalala receives a congratulatory call after the announcement of his election. PHOTO: supplied

Sihle Zikalala receives a congratulatory call after the announcement of his election. PHOTO: supplied

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THE election of Sihle Zikalala as the provincial chairman of the ANC has led to a conundrum for his party, which doesn’t know how best to deploy him now.

Over the weekend, the former Youth League leader defeated the chairman and premier of the province, Senzo Mchunu with 780 votes to Mchunu’s 675.

With the conference officially concluding at the Royal Showgrounds, the focus now turns to Zikalala’s next move. Zikalala previously occupied the position of provincial secretary, a full-time job, and it made sense that the ANC did not deploy Zikalala to a provincial government role.

However, having now been elected to a part-time job as chairman, it remains to be seen whether the ANC provincial leadership will deploy him to a government position.

ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) convenor Joe Phaahla said: “It was entirely up to the provincial leadership to decide how to best utilise Zikalala.”

Phaahla said it was possible that Zikalala could be sent to the public sector.

Zikalala had previously served as Mchunu’s deputy secretary when Mchunu was provincial secretary.

Speaking about Zikalala’s victory resulting in two centres of power, Phaahla said it was not foreign to the ANC.

He said the same situation exists in Gauteng, where David Makhura is the premier and Paul Mashatile is the chairman. Zikalala acknowledged that lobbying might have caused divisions, but called for party unity.

“Remember comrades, there is nobody who won, it is the ANC that won,” he said.

Zikalala’s close ally, Willies Mchunu, retained his position for a third consecutive term as deputy chairperson, Moses Mabhida region chairperson Super Zuma was elected provincial secretary, Harry Gwala region chairperson Mluleki Ndobe was elected the new deputy secretary, and former deputy secretary Nomusa Dube-Ncube was elected the new treasurer.

The results of the elections were announced on Sunday morning after voting closed at 2.30am.

The process of nominating and voting, which had been scheduled to start on Friday afternoon, was delayed by stringent checks of credentials of the delegates.

There were allegations of duplication of accreditation tags and regional chairpersons were asked to verify the correct delegates.

LATE on Sunday the ANC’s deputy chairperson, Willies Mchunu did not rule out the possibility of the new provincial chair Sihle Zikalala being deployed to a position in the provincial legislature.

Mchunu, however, emphasised that such discussions had not yet taken place.

“There are many former ANC leaders who had to leave their elected positions, but found their way to the legislature.

“But that discussion has to be initiated by the ANC,” he said.

Mchunu said the provincial leaders of the ANC did not have power to unseat the current premier.

“Premiers are appointed by the president, not by us,” he said.

Zikalala stressed that the current ANC provincial leadership still had confidence in the leadership of Mchunu.

Zikalala said this conference had nothing to do with the 2017 ANC national conference.

Within the ANC quarters there is speculation that Zikalala and his camp are in favour of a female president to take over from Zuma.

“We will discuss future conferences when the time is right,” said Zikalala.

He acknowledged that the new leadership face a difficult task to unite party members.

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