KZN's eThekwini wants Zuma re-elected
ONE of the most powerful and the biggest ANC region - eThekwini - has publicly endorsed Jacob Zuma's re-election as party president.
This makes eThekwini the first ANC region to state its preference for leadership ahead of the party's national elective conference in Mangaung in December.
The endorsement of Zuma from a region in his home province comes at a time when the ANC has barred its members from discussing or openly supporting any candidate until the party opens the succession debate in September.
It remains to be seen whether Luthuli House will be bold enough to act against the region for this premature endorsement.
In April former ANC Youth League secretary general Sindiso Magaqa said the league would back Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe for president.
Motlanthe has not come out publicly to say if he would battle Zuma for the party presidency.
Bheki Ntshangase, the eThekwini region secretary, said the decision to back Zuma for a second term formed part of eThekwini's official resolutions.
"We have so far seen nothing wrong with his leadership and are actually happy about the progress we have made as organisation and country and we want him to lead for another term," Ntshangase said.
The region has more than 100 branches and more than 66000 members. It is widely expected it will contribute a large percentage of delegates to the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung.
Ntshangase said while they respected the ANC's decision not to talk about succession until the matter was officially opened later this year, they were resolute about backing Zuma.
". even if the succession debate were to be opened tomorrow or next week, we have a decision and mandate as region. This is what we will take to Mangaung."
Ntshangase said the region had not discussed, nor would it decide, on other senior leadership positions in the party until the ANC opens nomination. "We have decided only on the president's position at this stage."
The region also wants KwaZulu-Natal chairman and premier Zweli Mkhize to keep his job. The province holds its elective conference in Newcastle this weekend.
Ntshangase said: "He has done well. Since his election, ANC [membership] in the province has increased dramatically, which also contributed to the party's swelling at national level.
"Also, for the first time, we have seen the ANC taking over many municipalities in the province and that is through his hard work.
"Politically we don't have a complaint about the provincial leadership . it's a winning team so why change it? The status quo should remain."
Provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the party would be more united going to Mangaung, despite the sacking of Julius Malema.
"When we went to Polokwane [in 2007] the ANC was divided. This time around it will be more united," he said.