We have stabilised the ANC in KZN, claims outgoing PEC
This despite plummeting electoral support in the province in the past two elections and failure to deal with the July 2021 unrest
The outgoing ANC leadership in KwaZulu-Natal believes the party is in a better state than what they inherited four years ago, according to provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli.
“While it is not the primary responsibility of the provincial executive committee (PEC) to conduct an assessment of its performance over the past four years, the PEC can state with confidence that the state of the organisation is far better that what was inherited by this leadership,” said Ntuli.
He was speaking at a media briefing where the party announced a roadmap towards the elective conference set to taken place in eThekwini from July 15 to 17.
Asked to elaborate, Ntuli said four years ago the party was massively divided into those who supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or Cyril Ramaphosa for the Nasrec conference which took place seven months earlier.
“When we were preparing for the provincial conference in July 2018, there were still very serious tensions which were a result of the aftermath of the Nasrec conference. It was still visible in the province to distinguish between what was called NDZ and CR, and that impacted negatively on our way to the provincial conference,” said Ntuli.
“At that time you had an ongoing case of former president Jacob Zuma taking place, attended by some and others not attending. Those who were attending the case at that time were saying and doing things at the court precinct which were negative for the ANC. We no longer have that.”
He cited the number of branches the province has in good standing, including that they have sat in all regions before the provincial conference, which was not the case in 2018.
“We did not have such a big organisation. We did not have 831 branches in good standing, the size we have today. In 2018 we did not have all regional structures elected. That is great progress which is part of consolidating the ANC, which we committed to do when we were elected four years ago,” Ntuli said.
According to Ntuli, at least 50% of the ANC branches have convened their branch general meetings (BGM) to nominate delegates to the ninth provincial conference.
The PEC called on all branches to convene their meetings no later than June 30 to qualify for a space in the provincial conference.
He said 831 branches have qualified to attend the provincial conference. The province needs a minimum of 601 branches to reach the 70% required threshold to convene.
“We are now close to 500 BGMs that have taken place. We are waiting for the head office to give us a verification report that will confirm how many were successful,” he said.
Ntuli said the PEC was confident branches would meet the deadline.
“We are not confronted by tension in these preparations and that is a confidence-booster. By the end of this month we would have reached the threshold and in case of any problems due to unforeseen circumstances, we will have time because the conference is in the second week of July.”
The PEC called on all branch executive committees and members in general to give primacy to the unity of the ANC.
“The PEC further agreed that the main content of the provincial conference will be the discussion documents released by the national executive committee in preparation for the national policy conference.
“However, the PEC has directed the provincial working committee to identify policy matters specific to KwaZulu-Natal, which may not be covered by the discussion documents for the conference to consider,” said Ntuli.
Under the PEC led by KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala, the electoral fortunes of the ANC in the province dipped.
In the 2019 general and provincial polls, the ANC shed votes before continuing that negative trend in the 2021 local government polls, when it failed to get an outright majority in the province's only metropolitan city, eThekwini.
As the ANC continues to lose favour with voters, parties such as the IFP have been regaining strength while the EFF has been establishing itself in parts of the province.
The ANC PEC was also found flat-footed during the July 2021 unrest, allegedly fuelled by some ANC leaders and rank and file members, that wreaked havoc and destruction of property in the province after Zuma's arrest.
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