ANC ‘in panic mode’

2018-06-11 17:14
President Cyril Ramaphosa and the rest of the party’s top six leadership were in “panic mode” following the escalation of tensions in KZN highlighted by the aborting of this past weekend’s provincial conference.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and the rest of the party’s top six leadership were in “panic mode” following the escalation of tensions in KZN highlighted by the aborting of this past weekend’s provincial conference. (File)

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President Cyril Ramaphosa and the rest of the party’s top six leadership were in “panic mode” following the escalation of tensions in KZN highlighted by the aborting of this past weekend’s provincial conference.

Sources say the ANC national leadership is concerned that the current standoffs between party factions in KZN could plunge the province into instability, and want the region to be treated as a high priority area.

“The truth is that the ANC top six leadership, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, was shocked about how things had quickly deteriorated [in KZN]. They want a task team to be immediately dispatched to the province to stabilise things.

“The interdicting of the provincial conference accompanied by scenes of hostility towards the ANC national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe, who was booed by delegates when he tried to speak, is not something which the national leadership had anticipated,” a source close to Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa supporters, who are currently embroiled in a power struggle with former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters, last week successfully interdicted the provincial conference. The move flew against the national leadership’s attempts to unite the factions through a power-sharing deal, said to have been endorsed by Ramaphosa.

According to those familiar with the deal, Zuma supporters, currently dominating the province, had agreed to include a member from the Ramaphosa faction in the ANC top five provincial leadership structure.

The Zuma faction, which suffered a blow when the courts in December disbanded the provincial leadership structure dominated by them, had also agreed to include Ramaphosa supporters in the influential provincial executive committee (PEC).

In return, Ramaphosa backers were expected to drop the complaints they had lodged about irregularities that took place in branches during preparations for the conference.

“However, a few days before the conference Zuma’s supporters made a U-turn and said they will only support candidates from their camp at the conference. They now wanted all the members of the disbanded PEC and top five to be returned to power,” an ANC provincial leader in the Ramaphosa camp said.

When the president’s supporters realised that Zuma backers had pulled back on the deal, they turned to the courts where they cited the irregularities that took place in some branches as grounds for interdicting the conference.

On learning of the court interdict on Friday, Zuma supporters, many of whom were already at the conference venue in Empangeni when news about the court action broke, reacted with fury, booing and heckling Mantashe when he attempted to address them.

Zuma supporters are accusing national leaders close to Ramaphosa for the divisions within the province.

“It has transpired that there is a level of frustration from ANC members about what is alleged to be divisive interference from some leaders of the ANC at a national level who peddle divisions in the province. And, by association, national officials get affected as if it is directed at them,” ANC provincial co-ordinator Sihle Zikalala said.

DA also concerned 

The DA on Sunday expressed concerns about the deepening divisions within the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, saying the problems within the ruling were bound to affect service delivery.

“It is obvious that the ANC cannot get its house in order and cannot be trusted to govern in this province and the country as a whole. For months now the governing party has held this province at ransom with its factional fighting,” DA KZN leader Zwakele Mncwango said.

Mncwango said the divisions within the ANC in the province have implications for the economy.

“Development has come to a standstill with the uncertainty as to who is in charge of the province.

“These debacles have the potential to turn away investors who are bound to lose all confidence in this province, and the people of KwaZulu-Natal will, in turn, be the ones who suffer the brunt of careless and irresponsible leaders,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  kzn anc

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