KZN: ‘Zuma is coming back’
The ANC’s biggest provincial constituency, KwaZulu-Natal, has formally thrown its weight behind President Jacob Zuma’s bid for a second term as ruling party president.
While yesterday’s provincial nominations conference dealt only with discussion documents, chairperson Zweli Mkhize publicly committed KwaZulu-Natal to re-electing Zuma.
To rapturous applause from the delegates, Mkhize said: “Let me summarise things for the media: uZuma uyabuya (Zuma is coming back).”
The province’s 974 delegates will today name their choices for the party’s top six and the 80 additional elected national executive committee (NEC) members.
Mkhize said the ANC’s critics who expected to “see blood on the floor” at Mangaung would be disappointed because the party would be able to deal
with tensions ahead of the elective conference.
“Mangaung is not Polokwane. This is not a geographic issue only. This is an issue of mind-set. There are issues that are much more important than who gets to become leaders,” said Mkhize.
According to him, although KZN had the largest delegation going to Mangaung, this size advantage should not be abused.
Mangaung delegates, he said, needed to be disciplined and not disruptive.
Taking a swipe at those within the ANC who criticise Zuma, Mkhize said the “opportunists” who named their leadership choices outside party structures should be disciplined at the congress.
South African Communist Party secretary general Blade Nzimande, too, came to Zuma’s defence when he addressed the conference.
Nzimande said the ANC and its allies needed to close ranks, “especially” around Zuma.
He accused the country’s media and opposition parties of being part of an “offensive” against the ANC.
He said: “The DA is a party of white madams and baases.”
The media, he said, acted like the ANC could not do anything right as the governing party.
Nzimade has not yet been named as a candidate for deputy president in any pro-Zuma party structures that have completed their nominations.
Sources in the party suggested yesterday his address to the conference was part of his bid to feature as deputy president on a Zuma presidential slate.