JOHANNESBURG: The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is set to engage the ruling party’s national leadership about its support for former President Jacob Zuma during his corruption case.
Newly-elected African National Congress (ANC) KZN chairperson Sihle Zikalala says supporting Zuma does not necessarily have to equate to undermining the ruling party.
“The view of the conference is to engage the national leadership of how we deal with people and organisations going to cases,” he says.
There are also questions around how Zuma will campaign for the party.
“We will engage the national leadership to which extent we will request former President Zuma to participate and how do we utilize him as a former leader,” Zikalala said.
The ANC NEC had previously decided that party members should not support the former president when he appeared in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban for corruption.
Zikalala had been elected as chairperson of the ANC in the province uncontested. When asked about whether prior to the conference it had been agreed that he would be elected uncontested, he responded by explaining that it is normal for the leadership of the party to be discussed by branches.
“Though branches would have a view, they will debate. When they agree, on this position we don’t have different opinions. Where they disagree, they discuss how to manage the contest and ensure there is a democratic process,” he explains.
Zikalala is adamant that there would be no reshuffling of MECs.
“Even after I was elected as chair of the ANC in 2015, we never reshuffled to include people on the basis of the leadership,” he says.
The issue of two centres of power is not an issue, he insists. “In many provinces, we have seen chairpersons who are not necessarily premiers. Northern Cape, Free State and KZN. KZN has been having a chair who is not the premier since 2015.
Zikalala has taken up the challenge of maximising unity within the party structures in the province.
“It means to reach out to all people who have been isolated or left out of programmes. We need to integrate them and make sure they all pray a role in the political life of the organisation.
“Unity means we must be inclusive. Unite means co-existence within the movement. Unity means we must allow different views to emerge in the organisation and not suppress it,” he says.