KZN delegates defied provincial directive to vote for Zweli Mkhize

KwaZulu-Natal delegates have defied directive from provincial leadership to vote for former Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize who was contesting for the position of president at the ANC 55th national conference at the weekend.

Mkhize lost to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has now been elected for second term. In the total number of votes cast, Ramaphosa received 2476 votes while Mkhize scored 1897. KZN suffered the heaviest defeat as none of their preferred candidates made it to the party’s top seven.

Despite the ANC in KZN having pronounced that it would back Mkhize, delegates confirmed on Monday that they had voted for Ramaphosa instead.

Speaking to Sunday World after the outcome of the top seven contest was announced, the delegates said to them it was not about who gets to be president but about unity and renewal of the ANC.

“As you recall that in 2017, we came out with renewal and unity, that is the same as what we want now, we are happy and looking forward to the announcement of the NEC [national executive committee] members.”

“I know for sure that the comrades who were supporting Mkhize are principled members of the ANC, I am quite sure that they are going to support whoever emerges, in this case that is comrade Ramaphosa. Because comrade Zweli Mkhize, truth be told, we know he is a very disciplined member who has served the ANC well for many years. I know the ANC will be much stronger going forward regardless of who emerged and who did not,” said Mzweleni Shabangu.

The delegates said, however, that they had hope for Mdumiseni Ntuli to be elected for the position of secretary general which is now occupied by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.
In the total number of the votes cast, Mbalula received 1692 votes while Mdumiseni came out third with only 1080 votes. Phumulo Masaulle was also contesting and came out second with 1590 votes.

Although he did not make it as Secretary SG, KZN delegates say he should now be elected as spokesperson of the party as he is an articulate and scandal-free leader.

Said Mlungisi Zungu from the Mzala Nxumalo region in Ulundi: “We were actually hoping for comrade Ntuli to emerge as Secretary General, then anyone would work as president. Unfortunately, he was not elected, what we love about him is that he knows the ANC, he knows and respects the people’s needs and their views.”

Zungu said despite Ntuli’s loss, the conference went well, and they are happy and confident in the newly appointed leadership.

“We will support Ramaphosa, and the leaders elected to his slate as well as the NEC. But we ask of the president to fix the loadshedding issue which affects the ANC. Because when things are bad in the country people blame the ANC and when things are good, they say it is the government,” he said.

Siphile Mdaka regional chairperson of the Nokuhamba Nyawo region in KZN said: “This is the national conference of the ANC; of course we came here with a view in terms of leadership preferences but we also came here with a particular position on issues of policies and the processes of the ANC. The elected leadership has a task to implement the policies of the ANC that had been agreed upon and ensure that they foster the unity of the ANC which includes the renewal of the party.

“It is important for the ANC to appeal to people in general so that we can be able to engage them and to return the state’s power, because the ANC uses the state’s power to fulfil the wishes of our people. We are confident that the elected leadership will be able to do what needs to be done to ensure that we win the 2024 election.”

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