Zuma calls for unity in eThekwini

2015-06-23 19:27
(File: AP)

(File: AP)

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Durban - President Jacob Zuma called for unity in the ANC when he met with the party's troubled eThekwini region in Durban.

The party’s top brass including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, chairperson Baleka Mbete, deputy secretary Jessie Duarte and treasurer Zweli Mkhize were in Durban to discuss issues affecting the eThekwini region. 

The high level meeting was held at the Coastlands Hotel on Mahatma Gandhi (Point) Road with chairpersons and secretaries from 103 branches in the region.

An SABC report stated that the provincial leadership had been given seven weeks to implement a programme of building unity.  

Provincial secretary of the ANC Sihle Zikalala confirmed the meeting.

“We first met with the national executive and then had a meeting with the branches later to discuss issues of unity in line with programmes developed by the PEC,” said Zikalala.

He would not elaborate on the programme or how long the programme would be running.

“I don’t know how long the programme is going to unfold for, but it will run for a couple of weeks. We will be going to all the structures to brief them on unity and consolidate. Only after the unity talks will we be able to discuss when the regional elective conference will take place,” said Zikalala.

This is the party’s third meeting in the province, the first was held at the Durban City Hall on May 20 and the second was held at the Coastlands Hotel on Peter Mokaba Road in Durban on June 8.

An ANC insider who sat in the meeting with the president but requested anonymity said, “We expected him to deal with the divisions in the province but Zuma spoke on unity.

“Remember during the first visit they realised that the divisions were deeper than they thought and that is why the president cancelled the meeting and promised to come back.

“The second meeting they made recommendations on what must be done in the province. That is when the PEC was allegedly disbanded temporarily.

“Monday was the third meeting. The president is furious that the divisions are costing the ANC because people in the ANC are defending individuals not the ANC. The ANC’s greatest fear is that the divisions may cause the ANC to lose the metro and that would lead to another Western Cape situation where another party is in power,” said the source.  

Programme of unity

Another source, who also asked not to be named, said the meeting with the branches only started around 14:00.

“Zuma suggested that the PEC design a programme that will be circulated that will talk to unity. He said branches must respond to the programme of unity.

“Zuma said that the conference was not going to sit anytime soon because the divisions in eThekwini were deep.”

The source said the party should consider reinstating the former leadership under Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

“When Dhlomo was the chair things got done even though there were divisions. At the rate things are going I don’t think that the PEC elective conference is going to take place later this year. The problem in eThekwini is the PEC and the solution is for the ANC is to dissolve the PEC leadership,” said the source.

While the high-powered delegation, riot police remained on high alert amid fears that a handful of Economic Freedom Fighters supporters would disrupt the meeting.

The fighters were intent on delivering a memorandum to the Transnet offices nearby, in support of workers that they represent.

A large contingent of Public Order Policing Unit officers were stationed at Albert Park where the EFF members had gathered, and another force stood guard at Transnet’s offices at Bay Terrace.

A third lot of riot police were stationed at the Coastlands Hotel.

It is understood that officers prompted the EFF to send a delegation of three people to deliver the document with their demands as without city authority for a march, all of their members would have been arrested.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  durban  |  politics

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