Senzo Mchunu. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Senzo Mchunu. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The upcoming ANC national policy conference has torn provincial structures in KwaZulu-Natal down the middle.

The conference is scheduled to take place in Gauteng from June 30 to July 5 and will review ANC policy and make recommendations to the national elective conference to take place in December 2017.

The party in the province has been plagued by factions since the November 2015 provincial conference in which a slate headed by current chairman Sihle Zikalala defeated the group led by former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu.

After the conference, thousands of Mchunu’s supporters marched to the ANC provincial headquarters to demand that the result of the election be nullified, saying the results had been cooked. The marchers also alleged that ineligible delegates were allowed into the conference venue to vote.

Mchunu was replaced as the premier by the ANC provincial executive committee a few months after this conference and his place was taken by provincial deputy chairman Willies Mchunu.

Senzo Mchunu is said to be supporting Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over the leadership of the party in December, while the Zikalala faction is rooting for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Senzo Mchunu’s followers have taken the outcome of the conference to the courts and their case will be heard in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on August 15, 16 and 17.

Last week the provincial executive committee finalised the process of nominating the delegates who will head to the conference. But already there are complaints that the faction aligned to Zikalala had manipulated this process in its favour and sidelined those perceived to be supporting Ramaphosa.

Lucky Mngwengwe, an ANC councillor in Hammarsdale, rejected this notion.

"We had a branch general meeting two weeks ago and everyone was invited. Our branch here in Hammarsdale not only nominated two delegates who will be heading for the policy conference but also instructed them to root for and lobby other comrades to support the candidature of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma later on in December," he said.

"We want radical economic transformation and we think that she is the only candidate who can deliver this."

Sfiso Dlamini, a leader of a branch that challenged the outcome of the provincial conference in court, said the process of choosing delegates was bedevilled by factionalism.

"I am leader in my branch but these people went behind our backs and held a branch meeting without us knowing. We are being sidelined by people who want to achieve a certain outcome, by hook or by crook.

"We are waiting for the outcome of the case to sort out all this rot in the ANC," he said.

His sentiments were echoed by an ANC leader in the Greater KwaDukuza region, who asked to remain anonymous.

He said they had collated complaints from the sub-regions. In some cases the branch general meetings did not quorate but were allowed to elect delegates for the policy conference.

"We will be meeting this Saturday to discuss this matter and we will issue a statement. We can’t allow our ANC to be stolen by crooks who want to serve their own interests," he said.

Super Zuma, ANC provincial secretary, dismissed allegations that members with dissenting views were sidelined.

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