African National Congress (ANC) Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday that the ruling party will soon deal with the leadership contest in KwaZulu-Natal in a bid to prevent the political fallout spilling over into the smooth running of government.
This comes after the Pietermaritzburg High Court declared “unlawful and void” the 2015 conference which elected the ANC Provincial Executive Committee in KZN where former chairperson Senzo Mchunu was ousted and replaced with Sihle Zikalala.
The court ruling, which came as a result of some branches challenging irregularities in the running of the conference, threw a spanner in the works for the upcoming 54th National Conference of the ANC in December where new leadership will be elected.
The ANC in KZN has vowed to appeal the court ruling despite the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) not giving it its blessing.
Mkhize said that it was a “very critical issue” to avoid disruption of the December conference as a result of leadership squabbles in provinces.
“We need to ensure that we get all the parties involved in the situation in KwaZulu-Natal and get our legal opinions in place to ensure that the decision that the NEC takes avoids any contamination of conference and electoral processes. Election of leadership should not be contaminated with the outcome of the court case,” Mkhize said.
“In terms of the national conference, we will do everything to avoid disruption and to ensure credibility and impeccable processes that will lead to election of leadership. We will not allow anything to stand in the way for a credible outcome of conference and successful uniting conference,” Mkhize said.
Mkhize was speaking on the sidelines of the the third annual South African Metals and Engineering Indaba in Sandton.
The Indaba, held by the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa), in collaboration with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), offers an opportunity for business executives, policy-makers and trade union representatives to collaborate towards addressing the challenges facing the sector.
Mkhize said that the ANC needed to embark on a programme to re-educate its members on the values of the party and take “corrective steps” against the culprits who manipulate membership and branch processes, as well as those who dispense patronage.
“We need to correct the perceptions that public monies are used for private gain and then reignite growth. We need to embark on a whole programme of inviting as many members of the ANC that have kind of retreated because of various reasons to ensure that all the challenges at branch level around the membership manipulation and branch processes are corrected and that those who dispense patronage for their personal interest are corrected,” Mkhize said.
“It is not going to be a once-off action. It’s something that is going to involve rebuilding on values, political education, bringing back discipline, and ensuring that actions of those who are involved in corruption are acted upon so that our people can be convinced that the ANC is active on some of the things they have objected to.”