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South Africa: Who is leading KwaZulu-Natal?

By The Africa Report
Posted on Monday, 2 August 2021 14:26

Soldiers sitting on a military vehicle watch the crowd, as community leaders speaks to a group of men and women in an effort to stop them from entering a shopping mall in Vosloorus, east of in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday 14 July 14, 2021. South Africa's rioting continued Wednesday as police and the military struggle to quell the violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

The leading party in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is the African National Congress (ANC), with 44 out of 80 seats.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), which has the second most number of seats,  has just 13. Although KZN is where the ANC has the most support, the party is in turmoil.

There are two main sides in the rivalry within the party: on one side is former president Jacob Zuma and the suspended Secretary-General Ace Magashule, and on the other is President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“The ANC in KZN should already have held its elective provincial conference, but this has been repeatedly postponed as the factions battle it out in the party’s provincial executive committee, branches and regions,” reports Africa Confidential. 

KZN ANC main political actors

  • Thulani Dlomo: former head of the State Security Agency’s special operations unit who was fired in 2019 by the president. On 14 July he was reported to be one of the individuals Police Minister Bheki Cele is being looked into for the current unrest in the region;
  • Sihle Zikalala: originally a Ramaphosa man, but is trying to play both sides by calling for Zuma to be pardoned. However, he is only succeeding in not being appreciated by either side;
  • Jomo Sibiya: regional government cabinet member who played an important role in Ramaphosa’s presidency and remains significant in the president’s camp;
  • Zandile Gumede: former eThekwini mayor who is an influential political player in the province, but has been charged with accepting R3m for making sure specific companies received contracts for solid waste management in the years 2017-19. However, she is still planning to run for chairperson of the ANC’s eThekwini region;
  • Mxolisi Kaunda: took over as eThekwini mayor in 2019; loyal to Ramaphosa and close to Zikalala;
  • Thabani Nyawose: Ramaphosa’s choice for ANC chairperson in eThekwini;
  • Mike Mabuyakhulu: former KZN ANC treasurer and deputy provincial chairperson, he is facing charges for allegedly receiving large cash sums from Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoy in 2008, whose company Intaka then got a big contract.

IFP main political actors

  • Velenkosini Hlabisa: the leader of the opposition IFP in the KZN provincial assembly;
  • Mkhuleko Hlengwa: party’s national chairman and spokesperson;
  • Thamsanqa Ntuli: KZN provincial chairman and mayor of Nkandla;
  • Narend Singh: chief whip in the National Assembly and treasurder-general.

Bottom line

Although the ANC holds a strong majority in KZN, the party is significantly more divided, and has more main actors in trouble with the law, than the opposition IFP party.

The full version of this article can be found in Africa Confidential. 

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