Mkhize is for peace

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Newly elected ANC chairman in KwaZulu-Natal, Zweli Mkhize, says he will preach a policy of unity among his comrades to ensure that his party wins the next elections with a big margin.

His dream for KwaZulu-Natal is "peace and stability".

"I want to build and maintain a strong and united ANC. I have to consolidate and make the current structure stronger so that the ANC wins the next election convincingly," said Mkhize in an interview with Sowetan.

"I want to develop and build but the decisions will not be mine alone. They will be that of the collective leadership and the membership of the ANC," Mkhize said.

He said a successful organisation depended on the level of leadership and the inclusiveness of its membership.

"We must meet with all our structures to ensure active participation from all members.

"Engagement with our people on the ground is crucial to ensure that we are in touch with the real concerns of the ordinary people. This we must do to find lasting solutions to current problems."

Mkhize said his task would be made easier given the spirit of unity that prevailed at the weekend three-day conference.

"It is clear that our leadership structure is a mature one. We were able to set aside emotions . and spoke with one voice."

The key requirement for peace in KwaZulu-Natal was an "open-door policy" that involved engaging "all political parties", including those who oppose the ANC as well as those who share common areas of interest with it, he said.

"Clearly when it comes to the IFP there are outstanding reconciliation matters that have to be pursued urgently."

He said the province could not afford "violent marches" - such as the one at the weekend when IFP members marched in central Durban over the road renaming issue.

Mkhize, a confidante of ANC president Jacob Zuma, was unanimously elected chairman. His deputy will be ANC provincial cabinet member Willis Mchunu.

Senzo Mchunu held on to his position as secretary while Sihle Zikalala, the former secretary-general of the ANC Youth League, was elected deputy provincial secretary. Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni was elected treasurer.

Mkhize also paid tribute to outgoing chairman Premier Sbu Ndebele, saying "he remains part of all the ANC structures and we will be working together".