payback time for zumaists

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

ANC branches in KwaZulu-Natal have sidelined all the leaders who were known supporters of President Thabo Mbeki before the Polokwane conference.

The branches finalised the release of nomination lists of those they want to lead the party ahead of provincial general congress next month.

The lists, including that of the most powerful eThekwini branch, are 100 percent dominated by the Jacob Zuma camp.

Most branches at the weekend opted for current MEC for finance and economic affairs Zweli Mkhize as chairman, Siyabonga Cwele as deputy, Senzo Mchunu as secretary-general, Sihle Zikalala as deputy secretary-general and Makhosi Khoza as treasurer.

The lists exclude some key leaders, including MECs who were seen to be in the Mbeki camp. The lists now confirm that Mkhize is earmarked to take over as premier.

Names of leaders excluded from the lists include that of current chairman and premier, Sbu Ndebele, who also made it public that he will not be available for re-election as chairman, a position he has held for 10 years.

Other names omitted include those of Mtholephi Mthimkhulu (MEC for agriculture and environmental affairs), Weziwe Thusi (MEC for arts, culture and tourism), Lydia Johnson (MEC for public works), Peggy Nkonyeni (MEC for health) and Bheki Cele (MEC for transport and community liaison), who is also the current chairman of the eThekwini region.

John Mchunu, eThekwini regional secretary, refused to comment on the "purging" of pro-Mbeki supporters.

"It's the branches who have made the nominations and that's the legal ANC process that we have to abide by," Mchunu said.

But University of KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu said the list was not at all surprising.

"I think it's payback time for the Zuma loyalists, and we will be seeing this throughout the country."