Clean sweep for ‘Taliban’ as Siboniso Duma becomes ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson

The Taliban grouping in the KwaZulu-Natal ANC has made a clean sweep of the top five positions at the party’s provincial conference in Durban.

The election of member of the provincial legislature Siboniso Duma as chairperson ahead of incumbent Sihle Zikalala by a margin of 930 votes to 665 is a blow to president Cyril Ramaphosa’s hopes to have the province behind him when the party holds its national conference in December.

However, Zikalala’s position as premier appears to be safe — for now — with the new ANC chairperson saying that they had no intention of recalling Zikalala and repeating the decision taken in 2015 to recall premier Senzo Mchunu after losing the chairperson contest.

Zikalala and incumbent secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli — who lost the post to Kokstad mayor Bheki Mtolo by 165 votes — had headed the Ankole slate, consisting of leaders backing Ramaphosa for re-election.

Deputy chairperson Kwazi Mshengu lost to health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu by 927 votes to 691, while sitting deputy secretary Sipho Hlomuka took 895 votes giving him victory over legislature speaker Nontembeko Boyce, who received 689 votes.

The fight for the treasurer’s post was won by Newcastle mayor and eMalahleni chairperson Ntuthuko Mahlaba, who took 857 votes ahead of Jomo Sibiya’s 723.

Both candidates were nominated from the floor after eThekwini ANC chairperson Zandile Gumede — who was nominated by branches during the general meeting process in the build-up to the conference — declined as she was precluded from standing by the ANC’s step-aside rule.

At a briefing after the election, acting secretary general Paul Mashatile said the national executive committee wished the new leadership well, adding they would need to hit the ground running to deal with the problems facing the ANC.

Mashatile said that their duty was “to unite our comrades on the ground”, including those they defeated in the leadership contest, over the next five years.

He said the branch delegates had shown “good, disciplined behaviour” and that the conference had been conducted with “high discipline”. 

Duma said that they were “well aware” of what had happened in the November 2021 local government elections — when the ANC lost a number of municipalities — and would “hit the ground working”.

Duma committed the new leadership to working closely with the party’s national leadership and said there would be no “purge” within the losing faction.

Mtolo said that they had no intention of recalling Zikalala as premier as he and the rest of the new leadership had been part of the provincial executive committee (PEC) that backed Zikalala as premier and that nothing had changed since then.

Duma said the “issue of 2015 is gone” and that “we are not going to go there”  because of the lessons learned by the ANC in the province.

The election of the rest of the PEC will take place on Sunday.

Ramaphosa is expected to deliver the closing address at the conference.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.

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