KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala has ridden out a backlash against him from supporters of former president Jacob Zuma and is likely to emerge as the party’s premier candidate next May.
ANC branches across the country are in the process of deciding who will represent the party in the provincial legislatures, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and in Parliament next year. The provincial list conferences are expected to be completed by the end of the weekend, after which their lists will be consolidated at a national list conference.
Zikalala had led the campaign to elect Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as ANC president last December, but has since been accused of dumping the Zuma camp in favour of the successful “unity” slate he headed at the KwaZulu-Natal provincial conference in July.
Despite threats from his critics in the eThekwini and Moses Mabhida regions that they would choose Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the ANC provincial treasurer, as premier candidate, Zikalala made the top spot on the 80-person list for the provincial legislature at the provincial list conference held in Durban on Wednesday.
As such, he is the preferred premier candidate of the ANC in the province and, should the party win, he will replace Willies Mchunu after the election in May.
The province’s legislature list and those for the National Assembly and the NCOP will only be made public next week after they are consolidated, but the Mail & Guardian can also confirm that Zikalala’s deputy, Mike Mabuyakhulu, made number two on the province’s legislature list and number one on its list for the NCOP.
Mabuyakhulu, one of the provincial co-ordinators of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s successful campaign at Nasrec, made the list despite facing charges of corruption while he was the province’s MEC for economic development for the payment of R28-million for a jazz festival in 2012 that never took place.
Dube-Ncube came in at number three for the legislature list, and participants in the conference said that, despite the earlier tensions between the two factions, the province had elected a “balanced” set of candidates.
“I think we have done very well,” said one delegate who did not want to be identified because he is not authorised to talk to the media. “The list is very balanced and also has a fair number of young people. This will take the ANC into the election in a good condition and spirit.”
Concerns that the ANC branches in the province would hit back at Deputy President David Mabuza for his abandonment of the “premier league” slate at Nasrec proved unfounded. Mabuza’s stance at the ANC’s elective congress at Nasrec cost Dlamini-Zuma the presidency, but KwaZulu-Natal still placed him as number two for the National Assembly after Ramaphosa. Dlamini-Zuma was placed third on the parliamentary list by branch delegates.
Voting at the conference, which started late, only finished after 3am, but was “successful and peaceful”, according to ANC provincial spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu.
The results from KwaZulu-Natal and the rest of the provinces will be consolidated at a national list conference, from which the final list for the provincial legislatures, Parliament and the NCOP will emerge.
Not all provinces have had such an orderly process. In North West, one person was stabbed and several others assaulted when fighting broke out among delegates from rival factions during registration for the province’s list conference in Potchefstroom on Monday.
Delegates had accused the provincial task team, which had been appointed to run the ANC in the province after the disbandment of the pro-Zuma provincial executive committee (PEC) led by former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, of rigging branch representation and of manipulating the lists that had come from the North West regions.
ANC acting spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the delegates involved in the incident should face internal disciplinary procedures and criminal charges.
In Gauteng, ANC provincial chairperson and premier David Makhura topped the list with his provincial deputy, education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, coming second.
A consolidation of branches in the province, generated on December 9, showed that Makhura, Lesufi and deputy provincial secretary Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko made the top three on the provincial list. Provincial treasurer and former City of Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau was eighth on the list. Former City of Tshwane mayor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa was 1 th. MECs Lebogang Maile, Faith Mazibuko and Ntombi Mekgwe were placed fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
PEC leaders Qedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa, who were told by the province’s working committee this week to step down as party leaders, did not make the first 99 names on the provincial list.
Former health MEC Mahlangu, who was under fire for her involvement in the Life Esidimeni disaster that resulted in the death of at least 144 psychiatric patients, did not make the 1 13-person list seen by the M&G.
Former ANC legislature chief whip Hlongwa, who is the subject of a Special Investigations Unit probe into alleged corruption during his tenure as health MEC in 2009, was at number 467.