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South Africa: ANC factionalism battles emerge ahead of 2016 polls

By Crystal Oderson in Cape Town
Posted on Monday, 4 May 2015 15:54

The ANC’s eThekwini’s elective conference that had to be abandoned after it was rocked by chaos as different factions of the party fought for power.

This is the history we would have been better off without

The adjournment of the conference in the ANC’s most powerful region is of concern given the political stakes at play, analysts argued, saying the party must do more to address factionalism.

Political analyst, Somadoda Fikeni said “factionalism and factions” were at the root of the problems facing the ANC.

“The ANC nationally is also taking too long to intervene in resolving disputes in its structures,” he said.

Zakhele Ndlovu from the University of KwaZulu-Natal toldBusiness Day that the party was likely to contest the local government elections bearing signs of deep divisions.

“For the past decade the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has united in supporting President Jacob Zuma during his various trials and tribulations.

“The party has also grown phenomenally in the province during the same period. But now that unity is nowhere to be seen,” he said.

The ANC will face an uphill battle in the 2016 local government election and disunity and factionalism will certainly hurt the party, Ndlovu continued.

The weekend meeting had to be abandoned on Saturday after a section of delegates violently disrupted it.

Attempts to calm the angry members failed.

KwaZulu-Natal premier and ANC provincial chairperson, Senzo Mchunu, said it was “sad that the region was engulfed by such intense infighting”.

“This is the history we would have been better off without,” he said.

Mchunu was forced to abandon his speech midway, while the media also had to leave the venue as the melee ensued.

Kwazulu-Natal province has the highest numbers of ANC members in the country and also holds the most number of voting delegates at any leadership conference of the party and is President Jacob Zuma’s home province.

With 103 branches, eThekwini is the largest ANC region in South Africa.

The leadership that was due to emerge from the regional conference will wield enormous influence at the ANC’s 2017 elective conference.

The results of the last conference, on February 14, had to be set aside by the ANC’s Gwede Mantashe, following an anomaly over the participation of three branches.

EThekwini metro mayor, James Nxumalo was elected chairman of the region in a tightly contested ballot that saw him edge out former regional treasurer Zandile Gumede, by 253 votes to 212.

The ANC’s NEC later decided to nullify the result of that conference.

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