Mchunu billed to return to KZN leadership

2017-08-20 06:02
Senzo Mchunu

Senzo Mchunu

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The return of ousted premier and former ANC provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu as convener of a provincial task team is the next ace to be played by the Ramaphosa camp ahead of the party’s December conference, say Mchunu’s supporters.

The power play is reliant on a favourable outcome for a rebel group in KwaZulu-Natal in its challenge to the legitimacy of the current provincial executive committee (PEC) in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

The group is made up of ANC members aligned to Mchunu who are seeking to have the 2015 provincial conference, during which Mchunu was ousted in favour of current chairperson Sihle Zikalala, nullified.

A full bench heard the matter over two days this week and judgment has been reserved.

Mchunu has in recent weeks been campaigning for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to be elected president of the ANC.

The former premier has been touted for the position of secretary-general at national level on Ramaphosa’s list ahead of the upcoming elective conference.

Confident of a win, supporters who include senior ANC national executive committee (NEC) members, anticipate that they will have to set up a provincial task team to oversee the province until another provincial conference can be held.

The group’s expectations include the reinstatement of the previous leadership and the reversal of all decisions taken by the current structure.

Mchunu’s supporters also anticipate that the PEC will be reinstated with immediate effect and be given about 90 days to reconvene a conference.

"That will hurt them big time politically”

They also foresee that given the discrepancies that have been raised in the dispute, the court could order that the ANC’s constitution be applied to put into place a neutral task team that will take the province to another elective conference.

Although this could be the last resort, the group anticipates that the ANC could opt to disqualify the province from the national conference if it fails to reconvene the provincial conference to elect new leaders.

Mchunu’s supporters in the province say that making him convener of the task team would not only vindicate them but also allow for a chance to consolidate support for Ramaphosa.

“Senzo would then be able to attend to some of these regions that have been stripped of their powers because of their support of the DP [deputy president].

"So with branch general meetings on the way as well, we would want for him to be in charge to oversee that process and prepare the ground for when nominations open and we can work freely,” one regional leader said.

However, an NEC member warned against Mchunu being given the position, saying it would taint him. “Politically it would be wrong for Macingwane [Mchunu] to come back.

It will hurt his chances in December. Usually, people from task teams make a lot of mistakes.

“He will risk angering a lot of people ahead of conference and dividing the province further. So you need people that are somewhat neutral, who don’t have ambitions for December.

"Of course there is no one in the ANC who does not have an interest in conference, but you want a team that won’t be blatantly factional.”

Setting up the provincial task team would be the competency of the office of the secretary-general of the ANC under Gwede Mantashe, who is believed to be a supporter of a Ramaphosa presidency.

Members of the current PEC – who are all respondents in the matter before the high court – are believed to be supporters of former African Union Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Already there is talk that they have prepared to appeal the court judgment. An NEC member in the Mchunu-Ramaphosa camp said the appeal would serve as a delay tactic.

“Their appeal is not [so they can] win, it is to delay. It would be up to the court whether or not they stay in their positions while the appeal is being processed. The problem with them staying, is that they will have lost complete legitimacy politically; they would be a legal structure, not a political one.

"The likes of Makhosi Khoza will remind them every day that they are not even legitimate, as she has already done. That will hurt them big time politically.”

When asked whether or not there was already a plan to appeal, PEC member Mdumiseni Ntuli said: “The ANC will properly determine its action soon after the judgment has been delivered.”

Read more on:    anc  |  sihle zikalala  |  senzo mchunu  |  cyril ramaphosa

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