DURBAN, January 29 – African National Congress (ANC) protestors who were picketing outside the party’s provincial headquarters in Durban on Monday, were told the interim leadership team would meet with them next week.
A group of about 60 protestors started picketing and singing outside the provincial headquarters on Stalwart Simelane Street from noon onward as convenor of the interim leadership team, Mike Mabuyakhulu, and coordinator, Sihle Zikalala, met inside the building.
According to the protestors, who are aligned to former ANC chairman and axed premier Senzo Mchunu, the interim committee chosen to lead the party to a new provincial election was biased and weighted in favour of Zikalala, a known supporter of President Jacob Zuma.
Zikalala was the provincial chairman before being suspended along with others on the leadership committee by the ANC’s national body. Despite the suspension, Zikalala was chosen to sit on the interim structure.
Speaking to the media after meeting with three of the protestors on Monday, Zikalala said it had already been agreed to meet with disgruntled members next week.
“The concern raised by the picketers was that it has taken time for KwaZulu-Natal going through difficulties, divisions and in that period the comrades are saying there are a number of things that have happened and therefore they don’t believe that the ANC will be able to go to a conference within the set time frame in a manner that will help unite,” said Zikalala.
Mabuyakhulu said the discussions with three of the picketers went “very well”.
“Our own position is that now that we are ready to discuss the process, it is a matter of us therefore meeting with them next week, taking them through that process. But we want to say to our members in general, our structures, we think that we want to approach this process with the greatest inclusiveness,” he said.
Mabuyakhulu was the MEC for economic development in Mchunu’s administration, a position that is now held by Zikalala.
The ANC’s national executive committee formed the interim leadership team after a 2017 KwaZulu-Natal high court judgement found that the 2015 provincial elective conference was illegal and thus the results null and void. A new conference has to take place within three months.
Public order policing units and Durban metro police gathered outside the headquarters of the African National Congress (ANC) in Durban on Monday morning following intra-ANC protests in the city’s CBD on Sunday.
Besides numerous policing vehicles, a water cannon was also parked a short distance from the provincial headquarters on Stalwart Simelane Street, opposite the Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.
According to an ANC official inside the building, the police presence was “precautionary” as ANC members thought to be supporters of former chairman and axed premier Senzo Mchunu were set to protest the interim leadership committee set up last week.
The same faction was protesting outside the Durban City Hall on Sunday evening while the interim structure was meeting inside.
According to a text message circulated about Monday’s gathering, the protest was in defiance of the “factional and biased” interim leadership structure.
The message said: “We reject the KZN provincial task team. All members of the ANC must assemble at the ANC provincial office in Durban”.
The Mchunu faction believes the interim structure is loaded in favour of suspended chairman Sihle Zikalala, known to be an ally of president Jacob Zuma.
Although the party’s provincial structure was suspended by the national body following the results of a high court order last year, Zikalala was chosen to sit on the interim leadership structure.
ANC KZN stalwart and a former MEC for economic development in the province Mike Mabuyakhulu was announced as the task team’s convener and Zikalala as the co-ordinator.
The task team was formed by the ANC’s national executive committee after a 2017 KwaZulu-Natal high court judgement that found the 2015 provincial elective conference was illegal and thus the results null and void. A new conference is scheduled within the next three months.
Under Zikalala’s leadership, the province canvassed for Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma before December’s national conference, while Mchunu and his supporters lobbied for Cyril Ramaphosa, who was elected the new ruling party president.
Protesters were set to begin gathering outside the Durban provincial office on Monday afternoon.
– African News Agency