‘Factions water down KwaZulu-Natal’s ability to influence ANC national politics’

2015-11-06 16:49
ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Senzo Mchunu and Hlengiwe Mavimbela, member of the provincial executive committee, address journalists at the provincial conference.
PHOTO: Tebogo Letsie

ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Senzo Mchunu and Hlengiwe Mavimbela, member of the provincial executive committee, address journalists at the provincial conference. PHOTO: Tebogo Letsie

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KwaZulu-Natal premier and ANC provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu today laid bare the extent of factional divisions within the party in the province and cautioned that these may water down the province’s ability to influence ANC national politics.

In his political report during the ANC KwaZulu-Natal conference today in Pietermaritzburg, Mchunu mentioned instances where members would “rather talk to and fraternise with members of opposition parties as opposed to fraternising with one’s own ANC comrades”.

Mchunu is standing to be re-elected as ANC provincial chairperson against outgoing provincial ANC secretary Sihle Zikalala, and the election results are expected early tomorrow.

Mchunu today told the more than 1500 ANC branch delegates and guests attending the provincial conference that there was “violence, threats and brazen use of force, at times including physical force, on other members of the ANC if they are deemed to be opposing those whom we support”.

“All of these alien tendencies reach boiling point during internal electoral processes,” said Mchunu.

He proposed that the conference find a new internal democratic system suitable for an organisation the size of the party “in an era where ANC traditional values seem to be placed in one trench and we as members are walking in another”.

Mchunu said KwaZulu-Natal had a long and historic profile in influencing ANC national politics. Although he did not elaborate, it is widely known that KwaZulu-Natal’s membership muscle has become a key factor in ANC politics, particularly leadership elections.

KwaZulu-Natal championed President Jacob Zuma’s re-election in Mangaung in 2012.

However, the province was then united as a bloc behind its provincial leaders. Zuma’s imminent departure at the ANC’s upcoming 2017 national congress has seen a realignment of loyalties within the party in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mchunu would only say that the factors that made KwaZulu-Natal influential also made the province “both assertive and attractive beyond our province and its borders”.

“They are factors that make us who we are as a province and we need to continue to utilise the position we hold in the body politic of the ANC to influence both provincial and national developments,” he said.

He said the province should not be shy to influence policy positions of the ANC at national level, “at the same time we must allow ourselves to be influenced by other provinces and structures of the movement”.

“We would have needed to have been angels not to affect ourselves or be affected in one way or the other,” said Mchunu.

Earlier today ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete warned delegates that infighting was sending a bad message to voters.

Mbete said that ANC members could not become enemies simply because they differed over leadership preferences.

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