/ 9 November 2022

ANC in KwaZulu-Natal to announce its choice for party president on Thursday

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Bheki Mtolo.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal will make public its choices for the party’s top leadership positions — including its president — when it opens the ballot boxes from its branch general meetings on Thursday.

Although the provincial executive committee has previously identified Zweli Mkhize as its choice for ANC president, the more than 700 branches who qualified to participate in the party’s national conference in December were left to decide for themselves who to back.

The province is among the ANC’s largest and most influential, but in 2017 it failed in its bid to elect Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as party president and ended up with no representative in the party’s top six.

ANC provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo said on Tuesday that the ANC’s electoral agency, headed by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, would oversee the opening of the ballots and would then make their choices public to maintain the integrity of the process.

The nomination process closed on Monday, with the ANC’s women’s league, youth league and veterans’ league having already made their choices public.

Mtolo said that although the province had backed Mkhize and the majority of its branches had indicated their support for him, they would wait “until the envelopes are opened” before making any announcement”.

“Our approach towards this conference is simple — whatever we do as members of the

ANC, leaders and structures of the ANC, we must preserve the integrity and the originality

of the ANC.”

Mtolo said ANC members needed to bear in mind that the conference was a “mere five days event” and not allow the leadership contest to “cut the party into two”.

“There will be the ANC after the national conference. We must not behave as if at the national conference it will be the end of life. Our conduct and daily behaviour and utterances must not be wanting to cut the ANC into two, but to keep it alive.”

Mtolo said that thus far the ANC provinces had been “very responsible” and had lobbied for their choices without “insulting” other leaders who were contesting positions.

He said the situation was unlike that in 2017, which he described as “a free-for-all because the stakes were too high”.

Mtolo said the decision by the ANC electoral commission to insist on candidates declaring their campaign funding was a decision of the 54th national conference and “a good start to redeeming our movement from the use of money to influence conference outcomes”.

Turning to the address by former president Jacob Zuma at an ANC branch in Umlazi on Sunday, Mtolo said that there was “no story” in the fact that he had participated in party activities.

Earlier this year Zuma called on the ANC in the province to back national executive committee member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as president and himself as chairperson, despite the province backing Mkhize.

“We knew that he was there. He is not under house address. There is no no-go area for former president Zuma in South Africa. He has a right to go anywhere. I don’t know that when he goes to Umlazi it becomes news,” Mtolo said.