KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala says a proposal put forward by President Jacob Zuma for the losing candidate in the race for African National Congress presidency to become one of two deputy presidents will not fly when it comes to the party’s December conference.
Zuma is due to step down as the leader of the 105-year-old political party when it sits for its 54th national elective conference. His deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, and his former spouse, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, are the front runners to replace him.
Zikalala – who met with journalists in Boksburg on Monday evening following a meeting between the KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provincial working committees in Mpumalanga, said he believed the party would weigh up the president’s suggestion for the ANC’s next elective conference.
“I don’t believe provinces and branches have discussed that matter and come to that determination,” said Zikalala.
Zuma made the suggestion during his closing remarks at the June policy conference as a way of trying to kill factions and slate politics, which have plagued the party.
Zikalala said his province suggested that there should be an additional deputy secretary position, but that there was no proposal for another deputy president.
The KwaZulu-Natal ANC chair said there was nothing unusual about the meeting that his provincial working committee held with Mpumalanga, explaining that in 2012 the same thing had happened between his province and Gauteng, as well as the Northern Cape and the Free State.
He said the meeting was called to engage on political issues as the ANC moves closer to its elective conference.
“Once there are names, ours is to then say: ‘How do we limit contestation that will escalate into a fierce contestation, like it’s the two opposite groupings that will compete? And contest in a way that shows if you don’t win you must go out of the ANC,” said Zikalala.
He added that KwaZulu-Natal was not trying to impose itself on the other provinces with whom it would be meeting.
“We don’t want to make an arrangement: We want branches to generate the leadership nominations, co-ordinate them at a provincial level, talk with other provinces, diffuse this division, and ensure that if there’s a contest its manageable and no-one feels isolated,” he said.
Zikalala said his province did not believe there would be a split in the ANC because of the elective conference.
“I don’t know of others, but we in the PEC of KZN are not preparing for any split. Once the ANC conference takes place, irrespective of who wins come January 8, 2018, I will wear a T-shirt bearing the head of the comrade who would have won,” said Zikalala.
He said nobody should leave the liberation movement because their preferred candidate did not emerge victorious in December.
“If you stand and you are not successful, it does not mean the ANC doesn’t like you,” he said.
“We must not elevate contestation to a point where people feel if you are not elected you must go out. We must avoid a situation where members become disillusioned,” he concluded.