Edward Zuma. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Edward Zuma. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

President Jacob Zuma’s controversial son Edward Zuma is leading efforts to have the leadership of the ANC’s Msholozi branch, in Nkandla, nullified.

Edward Zuma and other disgruntled ANC members in Nkandla met an ANC provincial leadership team that was headed by provincial spokesperson, Mdumiseni Ntuli.

The Msholozi branch covers the area where the President’s palatial home is located.

Edward Zuma was defeated in April when he stood for the position of branch chairperson. That meeting had been postponed several times when chaos broke out, with Zuma’s supporters exchanging blows with those of the eventual winner, Doctor Bhengu.

ANC insiders say the branch is not toeing the line of the KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial executive committee, which is backing Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over leadership of the ANC from her former husband in December.

Leaders of the Msholozi branch are reportedly considering voting for Cyril Ramaphosa and even Zweli Mkhize. This, insiders say, is the reason for the haste to have the branch leadership replaced with more pliable individuals who would stick to the provincial party line.

Ntuli confirmed the meeting with aggrieved members of the Msholozi branch, including Zuma. But he denied that the issue was over leadership choices, saying the unhappy members outlined a number of complaints over the manner in which the branch leadership was elected in April.

"There were concerns that it appears to them that some of the people who may have participated were not duly accredited to participate in that meeting. So they wrote a letter to the NEC and copied it to ourselves as the PEC and to the office of the secretary-general," Ntuli said.

He said the matter would be followed up shortly.

Sifiso Kunene, a provincial political analyst, said the timing of this challenge was very strange. "This makes one wonder, why challenge now the outcome of the branch elective conference that was held in April? Why did they wait this long?

"I think Edward and his supporters are seeing that they will not participate in the December conference and they want the provincial leadership to intervene so that he will participate in the December conference, so that he can push the agenda that wants Dlamini-Zuma to succeed President Zuma as the ANC leader, and that of the country in 2019," Kunene said.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, Edward Zuma penned a second open letter to former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, accusing him of being part of the "crew of Smurfs on tour to degrade ANC leaders".

Earlier this year the ANC forced Zuma to issue an eleventh-hour apology to Gordhan and former tourism minister Derek Hanekom, after launching racially loaded invective in an open letter.

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