Jacob Zuma blamed as Cyril Ramaphosa's KZN peace pact fails
ANC in key province in chaos after unity 'deal' falls apart
Former president Jacob Zuma sank a settlement deal between warring factions in the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, effectively sabotaging this weekend's elective conference.
Zuma's intervention also torpedoed President Cyril Ramaphosa's efforts to broker a settlement between warring factions in the province, which would have seen agreement on a "zebra list" for provincial leadership.
The KwaZulu-Natal conference was interdicted from proceeding on Friday due to an application by a group believed to be aligned to Ramaphosa, after the collapse of the deal and renewed distrust between the factions.
The scuttling of the KwaZulu-Natal conference set back weeks of work to resolve years of hostility, as well as high-level efforts to reduce volatility and political killings.Ramaphosa met the province's 11 regional chairmen two weeks ago to smooth over relations and ensure a unity deal. He also met provincial leaders, including the head of the provincial task team, Sihle Zikalala.
Head of the presidency in the ANC Zizi Kodwa confirmed that Ramaphosa had held meetings with provincial leaders to "build unity and assist them to work together".
"He wanted to ensure an outcome that must be acceptable to all sides, not a winner-takes-all situation. We must take lessons from Nasrec, where a mixed leadership was elected," said Kodwa.
Zikalala called the claims "a fallacy", saying: "I have never been in a meeting with President Zuma in the past three weeks. I met president Zuma at his court case inside the courtroom. I did not even go outside with him. To say I had a meeting with President Zuma, it's wrong. It's a fallacy."
Zikalala confirmed that there were attempts to accommodate both factions in the leadership of KwaZulu-Natal, and that the process to find a solution was continuing. He also admitted that trust between the factions "was still a problem". However, he said those who went to court did so because their personal needs were not being met.
As Zuma made a brief appearance in the High Court in Durban on Friday, looking politically isolated, the ANC in the province was being thrown into disarray and continued uncertainty over its leadership.
Following Zuma's ominous warning this week that he should not be "provoked", he instructed a group of ANC leaders led by Zikalala to withdraw from the settlement deal. Zuma wanted the KwaZulu-Natal leadership that was elected at the nullified November 2015 conference to be re-elected. He particularly wanted his fierce ally, Super Zuma, to keep the provincial secretary post.The "zebra list" negotiated by the two factions would have seen Zikalala being elected unopposed as provincial chairman and Ramaphosa backer Mike Mabuyakhulu becoming deputy chairman or provincial treasurer. Former provincial spokesman Mdumiseni Ntuli was earmarked for the provincial secretary position.
Ramaphosa personally intervened to ensure a settlement between the warring ANC factions in KwaZulu-Natal after it became evident that people close to Zuma were plotting a breakaway, working with church leaders, taxi bosses and business people.
According to sources close to the president, Ramaphosa had also been told of a plan to sabotage the ANC in next year's elections. The information given to the president was that Zuma's supporters would be instructed to vote either for the IFP or the breakaway party on the national ballot, but retain their support for the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal.
Zuma would then negotiate a coalition agreement between the parties, giving him leverage over the new government.
Speaking after a brief appearance in court on Friday, Zuma said that nobody in the ANC had spoken to him about reports of his involvement in the formation of a new party. The reports were denied by former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, who was the only high-profile ANC leader speaking in support of Zuma outside the court.
Zuma was supported by a line-up of controversial and disgraced people, including Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Faith Muthambi, Des van Rooyen, Carl Niehaus and Andile Lungisa. There was a noticeably lower turnout of supporters compared to his previous appearance, in April.Speaking at a Cosas youth month event at the Durban City Hall on Wednesday, Zuma made a curious statement about how the ANC could consolidate power in next year's elections: "We must think out of the box to bring back the two-thirds majority".
In his speech, Zuma launched a broadside at his detractors, warning that he was no longer restrained by being president.
A member of the ANC national executive committee said yesterday that Zuma was "obsessed" with getting back at Ramaphosa and ANC leaders close to him.
The Sunday Times has learnt from several sources that on the same day as the Cosas event, Zuma met some of his staunchest backers, including Zikalala, eThekwini chairman Zandile Gumede and Moses Mabhida regional chairman Mthandeni Dlungwane, and told them to ditch the proposed peace deal.
Zuma's instruction was then communicated to Zikalala-aligned structures, and word spread that the deal was off the table.
The collapse of the deal saw ANC members in the Moses Mabhida region make a last-minute bid to stop the provincial conference proceeding. Judge Jacqueline Henriques granted the interdict, saying that if the elective process was tainted, the court should err on the side of caution.
Chaos erupted on Friday night after Zikalala told delegates the conference would no longer be able to elect new leaders.
Zikalala said the ANC would take Friday's ruling on appeal...