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Duma says KZN willing to help in ANC mediation efforts to resolve Ramaphosa-Zuma conflict

Duma says KZN willing to help in ANC mediation efforts to resolve Ramaphosa-Zuma conflict
ANC KZN chairperson Siboniso Duma. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

The ANC’s leader in KwaZulu-Natal, Sboniso Duma, said the province is ‘not sorry’ for leading the failed attempt to oust Cyril Ramaphosa at Nasrec in December. However, he supports plans by the ANC to mediate between Ramaphosa and former president Jacob Zuma.

KwaZulu-Natal’s ANC leadership says it is deeply concerned about the deteriorating relationship between President Cyril Ramaphosa and his predecessor Jacob Zuma, and would assist in efforts to reconcile the two men, according to provincial ANC leader, Sboniso Duma.

Zuma has instituted a private prosecution against Ramaphosa at the High Court in Johannesburg, accusing him of assisting State advocate Billy Downer to violate sections of the National Prosecuting Authority Act.

Amid the flurry of legal threats and counter-threats, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had to issue a statement clarifying that it had not given Zuma authorisation to privately prosecute Ramaphosa.

Tensions were heightened last month when Zuma walked into the ANC’s national conference late, moments after Ramaphosa had begun delivering his opening address. This resulted in some KZN delegates singing and dancing, disrupting proceedings for several minutes.

Newly elected ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula said one of his first priorities would be mediating between the two leaders to reduce tensions and prevent their dispute from affecting the work of the ANC.

Zuma-Ramaphosa tiff 

Speaking to Daily Maverick on the sidelines of the second leg of the hybrid national conference at Durban’s Exhibition Centre on Friday, ANC provincial chairperson Sboniso Duma decried the tension between the two senior ANC members, saying this was affecting the image of the party.

“ANC KZN supports all efforts to unite and build the ANC, including the pronouncement of the secretary-general, and should we be required to help in any way we can, we will,” he said.

55th ANC Conference outcomes

Duma said KZN was “not sorry” for leading efforts to unseat Ramaphosa as party president in Nasrec last month.

“We embrace the new leadership that was elected. We think the conference went well and the elections were fair. Democracy was at play. We believe that the majoritarian attitude, where the majority gets everything it wants, is not the attitude of the ANC.

“We are not sorry that we contested the space, because in a democratic organisation like ours, there has to be contestations from time to time. 

“Even in the 2027 national conference, KZN will take a position and contest the space — and it will do so until all the goals of the revolution have been achieved and no one in South Africa goes to bed hungry and the economy is in the hands of black people and they own the means of production,” he said.

“Yes, we fielded Comrade Khabazela (Dr Zweli Mkhize’s clan name) and, unfortunately, he didn’t win. But we are happy that we have 14 members coming from KZN who have been elected to the National Executive Committee (NEC),” he said, adding that they were also pleased that the new NEC was dominated by people with a background in the ANC Youth League.  

“Now the conference has come and gone, our focal area is the 2024 general elections… we have to rally behind the vision of the elected leadership,” he said.

KZN’s ‘unique’ situation

The collective led by Duma faces several challenges. Poll after poll predicts that 2024 will be the first election since 1994 that the ANC faces the prospect of losing power both nationally and in some key provinces, including KwaZulu-Natal.

Political pundits say the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) — which governed KZN from 1994 to 2004 — is making a comeback, and if the current by-elections were anything to go by, it could snatch the province from the ANC next year.

Two of the ANC’s formerly safe seats have been lost to the IFP in recent by-elections in uMuziwabantu Municipality (Harding) and eThekwini Municipality’s ward 99.

Umuziwabantu’s ward 11 was won by the IFP’s Khanyisile Mbotho with a clear majority of 1,149 votes.

Ethekwini Municipality’s ward 99 became vacant after ANC councillor Mnqobi Victor Molife was shot and killed just months after winning a seat in the 2021 local government elections. In the ensuing by-election, the IFP won the ward for the first time since the advent of democracy, with Jane Naidoo securing 62% of the vote. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Political hit suspected after councillor shot dead on KZN South Coast

The IFP’s victory was partly attributed to its pact with the Democratic Alliance to vote for each other’s candidate, and the two parties hope to use this strategy — with the assistance of smaller parties — to take KZN from the ANC. 

Despite these electoral setbacks, Duma maintains that the ANC will still rally enough support to win the province in 2024.

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“We have started working on the branches to ensure that they are strong. Government is launching different projects to benefit our people. We promised that we would get flood victims out of the halls by Christmas, and we have achieved that. People are starting to see action on the ground and they see that the ANC has gone back to basics.

“Now that the conference is over, as KZN ANC we are focusing on uniting our people… we will be focusing on winning the elections. We are focusing on service delivery. When we go on the ground, people say they trust the current leadership of the ANC in the province, but they expect more from this leadership.

“We have asked the national leadership and former ANC leaders in KZN to come to us so that we can discuss how we can consolidate our position and ensure that KZN is safe in the hands of the ANC,” Duma said.

IFP on the rise

Prof Bheki Mngomezulu of the University of Western Cape’s department of political studies said it was unfortunate that the new KZN ANC leadership would carry the can for years of ANC electoral decline.

“First and foremost, the KZN ANC has been disunited and therefore unable to fight as a united force. As a result, they have come back yet again from the conference empty-handed.

“The IFP is most likely to take KZN in the 2024 elections. During the 2021 local government elections, the ANC lost 18 municipalities — one to the DA (uMngeni) and 17 to the IFP or IFP-led coalitions. Already there are signs that this will happen. The recent by-elections are indications that the IFP is on the rise because it has been winning those by-elections.

“That should tell you that, unless something drastic happens, come 2024 the IFP will take over KZN. The ANC in KZN has not done enough to bring about unity within its ranks,” Mngomezulu said. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Paddy Ross says:

    This ‘conflict’ is a simple one – honesty v dishonesty. It can be resolved by removing the dishonest one from society.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    Paddy Ross is correct – it is a fight between the truth and the lie. And unfortunately Duma and Mbalula are both wrong. You can’t reconcile these two. Which is more, it is clear that Zuma does not want to put the ANC first and neither does the rest of this RET clan. And they will still not want that in spite of the fact that they lost so badly because the only cause they have is to protect themselves, while the cause of the truth is about the greater good of society and not just the few. So unless the ANC also change this culture of obsession with solidarity, it is only going to decline further, because the ONLY way it can rescussitate itself is by starting to assert law and order, and that is exactly what people such as Zuma are fighting against. Furthermore, the ANC nationalist ideology is to an extent based on the myth that in Africa the difference between crime and adherence to the law does not exist, which is not true at all. The very fact that these leaders still cling to the cause of solidarity proves this. So they have to kick the whole nationalist ideology out and then the ANC will lose the whole reason why they exist. So although I believe that Ramaphosa wants to bring proper law and order back, I don’t see how he or anyone else is going to succeed. Eventually the ANC will have to be replaced by another government for SA to succeed.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Why should there be reconciliation? Zuma is a former prisoner former president in the dock for corruption that has actively sought to undermine CR by every means possible. You don’t ask wood to reconcile with termites.

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