The offices of the KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Department were on Monday invaded by gunmen.The robbers made off with computers and hijacked a staff member’s car in what analysts believe was a political swipe at MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube.“There is no doubt in my mind that the armed robbery has a lot to do with ANC internal politics,” said Xolani Dube, a political analyst from the Xubera Institute for Research and Development.According to police, computers, a vehicle and a cellphone were some of the items the robbers stole during the robbery. “They then sped off in the victim’s vehicle and their getaway vehicle. A case of robbery has been opened at Mayville police station for investigation,” said provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele.Dube-Ncube, who is widely tipped to become the province’s next premier amid growing calls within the ANC national leadership for the next premier of the province to be a woman, said she was concerned about the level of force used during the robbery.“This incident could have easily resulted in a loss of life. The brazen nature of the incident is truly astounding and the harshest of penalties needs to be meted out to its perpetrators,” she said.The incident happens in the wake of fresh divisions within the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal.ANC supporters in the province were previously divided in terms of their leadership preferences during the build-up to last year’s presidential contest between former ANC chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa.However, the Dlamini-Zuma camp is said to now have split over who should become the province’s premier after next year’s national government elections.There are now more than two factions within the ANC, with some supporters wanting the current provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala to become the next premier, another endorsing Dube-Ncube and other factions in favour of a totally different candidate.“There are currently lots of splinter groups within the ANC in the province and I strongly suspect that Dube-Ncube has fallen victim to the power struggles currently being waged in the province,” Dube said.Professor Bheki Mngomezulu, a politics lecturer from the University of the Western Cape, said he found the robbery odd.“Given the current divisions within the ANC in KZN there is no way in which one could rule out a political element,” he said. The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) in KZN, which is rumoured to support Dube-Ncube, on Monday described the robbery as unfortunate.“Our position is that the law should take its course,” said ANCWL provincial secretary Nonhlanhla Gabela.While Gabela maintained that the ANCWL in KZN had not yet decided on who should become the next premier, she said the ANCWL was in principle pro-women. “As the ANCWL we have a mandate to support the advancement of women, not only in society, but also within government and the ANC. “However, having said that, women in the ANC are yet to deliberate on the matter of the KZN premier position. We will in due course make a detemination on who to lobby for as women,” Gabela said.Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso, who said the stolen computers contained information on the department’s operations, declined to be drawn into “speculation” on the motive of the robbery.“We are leaving everything to the law enforcement agencies that will investigate and come up with proper findings.”ANC provincial leaders could not be reached for comment.According to ANC rules, the province has to submit three names to the ANC national office in Luthuli House from which the party’s national leadership selects a premier candidate.