The ‘unity’ slate made up of leaders from both ANC factions in KwaZulu-Natal has made a clean sweep of the three contested top five posts that were up for grabs at the party’s provincial conference in Durban.
Mike Mabuyakhulu, convener of the provincial task team which oversaw the conference, was elected deputy chairperson, defeating incumbent Willies Mchunu by 104 votes.
Mabuyakhulu coordinated the KwaZulu-Natal component of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential campaign in December. Mchunu was part of the rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (NDZ) campaign.
The clean sweep saw Super Zuma, the status quo candidate for secretary, being beaten by a 200 plus margin by Mdumiseni Ntuli.
Ntuli’s popularity was made clear by supporters who carried him on their shoulders to the podium when the results were announced.
Sipho Hlomuka, the unity candidate for deputy secretary, also won, taking 834 votes. Mluleki Ndobe, the status quo candidate, took 119 and the third candidate, Bongi Sithole-Moloi, 767.
A total of 1769 delegates voted at the conference, at which Sihle Zikalala, the coordinator and a key leader of the faction that had backed Dlamini-Zuma for ANC president at Nasrec, was elected unopposed. Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the incumbent treasurer, was also backed by both sides and elected unopposed.
The “status quo” faction had rejected the “unity” slate, first mooted after the provincial task team began its work in preparing for the conference, called after the November 2015 elective meeting was declared unlawful by the court. They pushed for the election of the entire 2015 leadership.
Addressing the conference after his election, Zikalala said they had begun the meeting with the intention of electing an inclusive leadership and had managed to do so.
Ramaphosa, in his address, congratulated the delegates and the new leadership for working together despite the deep rooted divisions in the ANC in the province.
He said the the inclusive top five showed that the delegates wanted a unified ANC.
The unsuccessful candidates had told him they accepted the result, a move which he welcomed. “No-one should be tempted to go against the will of the conference and challenge the result in court,” he said.
Describing the successful conference as a “pivotal moment” in the rebuilding of the ANC in the province and elsewhere. “History will record that this is the start of a new era of unity and renewal in this province for the ANC,” he added.
The conference had succeeded despite the province being “long divided”.
Ramaphosa assured delegates that the resolutions of the Nasrec conference on land and radical economic transformation — which the province had championed and had accused him of opposing — would be implemented.
The time had come to take radical economic transformation “beyond slogans” and look at concrete ways to change the patterns of ownership and control in the economy.
Ramaphosa called on delegates to unite behind the new leadership and focus on winning the election for the ANC. They needed to deal with the issue of “simmering racial tensions” between Indians and Africans in the province and commit to a clean leadership which would win over voters to the party.
Delegates will now elect the rest of the provincial executive committee and pass a conference declaration before wrapping up.