On 18 December The African National Congress (ANC) held its 54th National Elective Conference at Nasrec; where the top six official members were elected, with Cyril Ramaphosa beating Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and being elected the new ANC president. The Daily Vox spoke to a few people in KwaZulu-Natal to find out their views on the province not being represented in the elected leadership.
Sakhiseni Gumede, 31, office manager, Ndwedwe
The ANC is an old organisation and representation of provinces is not a new thing. However, KwaZulu-Natal is known for its massive influence in elective conferences because of the number of delegates they send. But the divisions within the party are now visible more than before and they did themselves a great disservice for their failure to take a united position. Now I’m not concerned about KZN not being part of the top six as I think it consists of capable men and a woman. I am concerned about what might happen next though in the province; the in-fightings, killing of people, the disturbance of service delivery and so on. If there’s one thing that this conference taught us is that unity is the only solution for black people.
For the past few years KwaZulu-Natal has been plagued by political killings, with Glebelands hostel being a hotspot for the assassinations. The Moerane Commision, established by premier Willies Mchunu in October 2016, heard early this year that the death toll of political killings was mounting.
Sdu Gerasch, 33, businesswoman, New Germany
It’s sad as the province not to have a representative in the top six but I think other provinces deserved to be given a chance too, it’s politics after all and there are no guarantees. I just hope this is going to be a lesson to the people of KwaZulu-Natal especially ANC members that sometimes you have to have a mentality of anything is possible. Optimism doesn’t always work in politics. Most of us were expecting Senzo Mchunu to be named the general secretary and we were surprised by Ace Magashule taking the position but one can’t look away from the party because of that, it’s still the same party, just different officials.
Bongani Qwabe, 32, lecturer, Durban
Looking at the current division in our province, we didn’t have many candidates so I’m not worried about KZN not being represented in the top six. We had Senzo Mchunu who was on the Cyril Ramaphosa slate and if had he won the position of general secretary, that might have been a problem for the KZN ANC leadership because of the factions. And these divisions are costing people their lives and having none of KZN members on the top six might help the province deal better with political killings. I’m not affiliated with any political party but if I were an ANC member I wouldn’t vote for any other party just because the province is not represented in the top six.
On Tuesday, a select committee of the ANC national conference met to discuss 68 uncounted ballots in the race. Magashule won by 24 votes, meaning that if those votes were included in the final count, he could potentially lose to Mchunu.
Nokuthula Nkandi, 26, consultant, Inanda
KwaZulu-Natal has always dominated within the ANC and I believe it’s only fair to have other province also taking charge. Also, the province is currently faced by many political shenanigans which I believe require more attention than anything else. There’s the issue of Glebelands hostel where people get killed almost every day and that alone raises many questions on how the ANC leadership is dealing with its problems. Being unrepresented as the province should be the very last thing to worry about but pay special attention to the matters at hand. As for ANC supporters, I don’t think voting for another party because of this would be a smart move, it’s still the same party members just different provinces.
More than 90 people have been killed at Glebelands Hostel since 2014 and residents are living in fear for their lives.
Zenzele Nxumalo, 41, general worker, Verulam
Whatever people wanted was for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma not to be the party’s president. I don’t see being unrepresented as much of a problem because KwaZulu-Natal has had many chances at being in charge. What happened to Senzo Mchunu was really unfortunate but that’s how ANC operates anyway; they always have their own way of doing things. Even if one has more voters than the other, chances are the other one will win regardless. The corruption within the party is visible. Although some people would want to vote for another party because of this, I doubt it would help because politics are politics and political parties are similar in one way or another.
Voxes have been edited for clarity and brevity.