Youngsters take over ANC leadership in KZN

23 July 2018 - 12:26 By Zimasa Matiwane
The ANCs 8th Provincial Conference held in Kwa-ZuluNatal.
The ANCs 8th Provincial Conference held in Kwa-ZuluNatal.
Image: African National Congress via Twitter

The ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal staged a take over at the party's provincial conference over the weekend.

Not only in the top-five leadership‚ but the young lions have assumed control of the provincial executive committee too. Of the 35 PEC members‚ 20 have served in various Youth League structures.

But the pursuit of unifying warring factions and the need for young blood in key positions‚ raised by the league‚ will render former president Jacob Zuma's staunchest supporters to political oblivion.

Sihle Zikalala‚ after a tussle spanning three years‚ is finally the leader of the biggest province of the party.

But it is the emergence of Mdumiseni Ntuli‚ a former YL PEC member‚ which caused divisions which may break Zuma’s support base.

New deputy secretary Sipho Hlomuka is a former YL Ukhahlamba secretary. He received major support from the anti old guard faction‚ which includes eThekwini regional chair Zandile Gumede. The pre-Nasrec Ramaphosa faction with a majority of powerful former Zuma supporters has realigned.

Ntuli’s win is also proof that Zandile Gumede no longer commands the most influential‚ powerful ANC region which is not only strategic for its numbers but also sets the agenda for the party in the province and possibly in the country.

It was the same region that first nominated Cyril Ramaphosa to become the deputy president of the ANC ahead of the Mangaung conference in 2012‚ and now the shift of power means Ramaphosa is in good favour with where the power lies in KZN‚ once again.

Zikalala spoke against the removal from positions of deployment of those who held a different leadership preference in the elective process. Observers say it will be "interesting to see who gets the boot"‚ specifically MECs‚ as only three current MECs made it to the younger PEC.

But another battle is brewing in eThekwini as the region is set to elect new leadership in December. Bheki Ntuli‚ the current secretary‚ has been elected in the PEC‚ leaving space for a contest for that position.

Gumede’s power is seen as having weakened after betting on the losing horse this past weekend. The region is likely to be led by former eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo’s allies post December as reward for backing the powerful breakaway faction which ditched Zuma's preferred candidates for “unity and younger leaders”.