Will President Cyril Ramaphosa show his face at the ANC KZN provincial conference?
It remains to be seen whether President Cyril Ramaphosa will attend the 9th ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial conference in Durban at the weekend.
This amid fears of how he will be received in former president Jacob Zuma's stronghold.
“He is not scared of going to KZN. He doesn’t regard KZN or any part of the country as a no-go area. ANC members are the same in KZN as any of the ANC members around the country.
“Therefore he will have no reason to behave any different with respect to KZN. The commitment and message of renewal and of unity in the ANC is a message that needs to be heard in KZN,” said a source close to the president.
The conference will take place at the Olive Convention Centre from July 22 to 24.
University of KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Dr Fikile Vilakazi said it was important for Ramaphosa to attend the conference because he is expecting to serve a second term.
“I also think it’s important to go because of the place the ANC is at in building towards the national conference. We know that the organisation is going through a leadership crisis, is in turmoil and the president himself has to demonstrate that the scandals around him are not something that are standing in his way.”
Ramaphosa also needs to show he is serious about the renewal project.
“He has to go there, he doesn’t have a choice. KZN is a province that is very strong in the RET (radical economic transformation) faction and it seems to be exerting authority in that province. Being booed or not being well received should be the least of his worries.
“He seems to avoid KZN where he fears being booed or not being well received. As a president that is working towards a place that says I am ready to lead again, he needs to show that authority that he is the president of all the factions.”
“Even though he enjoys a lot of support in the province, Jacob Zuma is no longer the president and Ramaphosa needs to demonstrate that. Remember how he reacted when he was booed by the unions. He is the president, it comes with the territory,” she said.
Provincial party spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said: “We have been told that the TG (treasurer-general) Paul Mashatile will open the conference on Friday — it’s been confirmed — and the chairperson will close the conference.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Ntombela said the sitting is “a culmination of a smooth and robust process in hundreds of branch general meetings which held their nomination processes”.
Ntombela said the province was in the process of preregistration of delegates in all regions.
On Thursday the province is expected to outline its readiness for the conference.
While a source close to Ramaphosa says the party leader will attend, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said he would have to check with the president’s office.
The conference will see current provincial chair Sihle Zikalala fight for the widely contested position.
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