/ 26 July 2022

Sihle Zikalala out in the cold in ANC provincial executive committee election

Sihle Zikalala
Sihle Zikalala

Former KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala — who lost the contest for chairperson to Siboniso Duma at the weekend — has also failed to make it back to the party’s 35-member provincial executive committee (PEC).

Zikalala, who had accepted nomination to stand as an ordinary member of the PEC, was placed 33 on the list of 45 candidates who had made the cut to contest the 30 slots for additional members.

But his running mates in the so-called Ankole slate who contested the other top five positions — Mdumiseni Ntuli, Kwazi Mshengu, Nontembeko Boyce and Jomo Sibiya — were returned as members of the PEC by delegates.

The final list of additional members is made up of candidates of the Ankole group, seen as being supportive of a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president, and the so-called Taliban grouping, which made a clean sweep in the election of the top five posts.

The outcome appears to reflect the unity between factions, which acting ANC secretary general Paul Mashatile had called for in his opening address. It will be a relief for Ramaphosa, who addressed the conference on Sunday, despite initially receiving a hostile response from delegates, who sang Wenzeni uZuma to register their support for former president Jacob Zuma.

eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, who had publicly called for unity ahead of the conference, sparking anger from the radical economic transformation grouping, also made it into the PEC, as did former PEC spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela.

The most popular additional members were Peggy Nkonyeni with 1 215 votes and Nomusa Dube-Ncube (1 118 votes), who had accepted nomination to stand as chairperson but had failed to secure the requisite endorsement of at least 25% of the 1 607 delegates representing the ANC’s 11 KwaZulu-Natal regions.

Other members of the outgoing PEC who stood for election but did not make it back include Mthandeni Dlungwana, Hlengiwe Mavimbela, Thulani Xulu and Mduduzi Mhlongo.

At the weekend Duma said that there would be no “purge” of the provincial cabinet after the conference result, but the failure of Zikalala to secure a PEC seat will further weaken his already precarious position.

In 2016, Senzo Mchunu was recalled after he lost the leadership race to Zikalala, a fate which he appears to be likely to share well ahead of the end of his term in 2024.