The current national leadership of the ANC has the support of its KwaZulu-Natal members but this did not mean that the province was discussing succession yet, provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said on Saturday.
“Yes we support the leadership and we are not shaken,” Zikalala told reporters at the ANC’s provincial congress in Newcastle.
“Discussions [on leadership] must be based on performance of leadership.”
He said the province was supporting the current leadership because it had implemented the resolutions taken at the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007.
“It’s not only about Jacob Zuma it’s about the whole leadership.”
One of the resolutions taken at Polokwane was to unite the ANC and the current leadership had done that, said Zikalala.
The road to Polokwane had been tough but the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal was going to Mangaung in December with the intention of uniting all the provinces, he said.
“The issue of leadership will be debated. We support the leadership. By supporting the leadership does not mean we are nominating.”
He said there were no leadership discussions within the province yet and that the party had learnt from the experiences that led up to the party’s national elective conference in Polokwane in 2007 when Zuma was elected its leader.
“It was really a rough process, the road to Polokwane. All of you [in the media] were happy enjoying that, but the ANC was the only one that was not enjoying because it was suffering.”
Units to unify
He said the media focused on individuals because debates on policy were “boring” for the media. Zikalala said that one of the policy issues being discussed would be the establishment of “units” at tertiary institutions and at work places.
He said the measure was one of those being discussed at the ANC’s provincial conference in Newcastle as the delegates debated on how to rejuvenate branches.
He said that the idea of having “units”, which he described as “small structures to co-ordinate members of the party”, was not aimed at displacing the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).
These units would also include rural volunteer corps and be established in blocks of flats.
Earlier it emerged that the estimated 2 000 delegates at the conference unanimously decided on Friday night to retain the same leadership and forgo voting. However voting for additional provincial executive committee members would go ahead on Saturday.
Zweli Mkhize would remain in his position as chairperson. Deputy chairperson Willie Mchunu, secretary Sihle Zikalala, deputy secretary Nomusa Dube and treasurer Peggy Nkonyeni would also stay in their positions.
The delegates had on Saturday afternoon broken up into commissions to discuss policy proposals such as those of the units. Other matters that were expected to be discussed was the state of education and health in the province.
Education commission chairperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said that the feasibility of no fee schools, the way forward to retaining experienced and qualified teachers as well as funding issues for schools.
Further issues to discuss
Dube, who was chairing the governance and legislature commission, said the issue of two tiers of government at a local level — district and local municipalities — would be discussed and the possibility that there should only be local municipalities.
She said the issue of the number of provinces would be discussed as would the issue of boundaries. She did not elaborate.
Resolutions from the meeting taken after the various commissions are expected to be known on Sunday afternoon when the conference wraps up. – Sapa.