The seismic conference saw former chairperson Sihle Zikalala, who was seeking re-election, ousted from the all-powerful position.
DURBAN – The ANC leadership’s assertion that there are no winners and losers at the party’s elective conferences was left looking redundant at the ANC KZN 9th Provincial Elective Conference after the ‘Taliban’ faction made a clean sweep of all the top five positions at the gathering.
The seismic conference saw former chairperson Sihle Zikalala, who was seeking re-election, ousted from the all-powerful position after losing the race to Siboniso Duma, who who amassed 930 votes to Zikalala’s 665.
In the contest for the deputy chairperson position, KZN Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane emerged victorious with 927 votes defeating Kwazi Mshengu, the MEC for Education in the province, who managed 661 votes.
The mayor of Kokstad Local Municipality, Bheki Mtolo, won the race for the provincial secretary post, a position he was competing for with Mdumiseni Ntuli, who was seeking re-election to the post. Mtolo received 894 votes to Ntuli’s 699.
KZN Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka, another member of the Taliban faction, was seeking re-election to the provincial deputy secretary position, defeated KZN provincial legislature Speaker Nontembeko Boyce, having accumulated 895 votes with Boyce getting 689.
For the provincial treasurer post, former Newcastle Mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba won the race after earning 857 votes to Jomo Sibiya’s 723 votes.
Addressing the media immediately after the completion of the results announcement after midnight, new chairperson Duma told the press pack that the ANC frowned upon the purging of fellow comrades after conferences.
This came amid fears that a purge of those who contested the top five positions in the conference and lost would ensue, particularly the removal of Zikalala as premier.
“We are going to build, we are going to develop the province of KwaZulu-Natal. We love each other as comrades, I think you have seen what permeated at this conference. It has been characterised by that and that’s going to assist the movement going forward.
“In fact, Africans are just like that but we are going to maintain that and we are going to build this province and take it back where it belongs, the accountability of the traditional leadership, the issue of the Nazareth Baptist Church, the issue of the (Zulu) Royal Household,” Duma said.
He was also adamant that they would emerge victorious at the 2024 General Elections.
Duma’s deputy, Simelane, was the only woman to make the top five officials and she said that the battle for women’s emancipation within the ANC was to make sure that in leadership they had an equal number of women leaders if not more.
“The society that we live in, in actual fact, is more than 60% women so that should be reflected within the leadership of the ANC. As women of this province, we aspire to get more than one female leader within the officials.
“The question here should be how does the Women’s League of KwaZulu-Natal feel about fielding a woman candidate in the office of the chairpersonship for the first time in history.
“I think that is the biggest issue we should be looking at because it has never happened before and we should appreciate the Women’s League and all the women of this province,” Simelane said.
Duma said that the conference will reconvene on Sunday morning with nominations and voting for additional members of the Provincial Executive Committee expected to begin then.
Although ANC officials said that they would await confirmation from President Cyril Ramaphosa regarding his presence in Durban to close the conference on Sunday, the ANC president is expected to close the conference on Sunday despite fears that he could be booed and heckled by delegates who have repeatedly and defiantly sung the Wenzeni uZuma song in an apparent show of support for former president Jacob Zuma.