Newly elected ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala has allayed suspicion that he would seek to recall his predecessor and political rival, Senzo Mchunu, as premier.
Mchunu was defeated early on Sunday morning to hold on to the position of chair for a second term.
Emboldened by his election, Zikalala said that Mchunu would still hold on to his position as premier.
“We have got full confidence in the premier,” Zikalala said on Sunday afternoon at the close of the provincial conference that took place in Pietermaritzburg.
The ANCYL in the province has been vocal in their call to have Mchunu recalled once he loses as ANC provincial chairperson.
But his once contender for the position of premier in 2013, Willies Mchunu said it is President Jacob Zuma who decides on premiers.
Mchunu lost in his bid by 105 votes, garnering 675 votes while Zikalala garnered 780 votes.
It is not completely over for Mchunu who confirmed his availability to serve as a member of the ANC provincial executive.
“We can’t remain with grudges … let us unite,” Zikalala said.
Being out of the full-time role as provincial secretary, it remains unclear what role Zikalala would now play in government.
Mchunu indicated that Zikalala may be deployed to the provincial legislature.
Zikalala also said that there would be no provincial cabinet reshuffle to oust any MECs who were not supportive of his campaign.
It is common place in the ANC that individuals are pushed out of government office if they were seen to be part of or backing a rival faction.
For now, the work would be to unite the organisation to become the powerhouse it traditionally was.
The biggest challenge awaiting the provincial leadership is to successfully lead the Ethekwini region to hold its conference.
Ethekwini – the largest region of the ANC – has been marred with instability after numerous postponements of the conference, and the invalidation of the conference.
The region – seen to be a proxy fight for provincial leaders – was torn between two leaders, Zandile Gumede and mayor James Nxumalo.
Zikalala told the conference that he seeks to unite the region and that all processes should be transparent.