POLICE Minister Bheki Cele yesterday brushed off claims of having a hidden hand in the divisions that played out in KwaZulu-Natal’s ANC structures.
This comes as ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule on Monday announced that the party’s divided KwaZulu-Natal structures had agreed to mend fences and proceed with the hosting of a provincial elective conference.
The announcement came against the background of the party’s national working committee (NWC) having pulled out the stops to bridge the gap between the two factions in the province – the one that elected Sihle Zikalala as provincial chairperson at the 2015 provincial congress, which was nullified last year by the Pietermaritzburg High Court – and the other camp backing President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Tensions were palpable last week when hundreds of people dressed in ANC regalia stormed the ANC’s Durban provincial office to hand over a memorandum of grievances to the party’s NEC ahead of Ramaphosa’s visit to the province to assess the state of readiness for the ANC to hold its provincial conference.
At last week’s gathering, party supporters claimed that Cele, who is a member of the eThekwini region, had a role in the tensions spilling out in the province.
Cele yesterday outrightly denied the allegations.
“I won’t waste my time. I won’t entertain it. I have a job to do.
“That’s my response,” he said.
Ramaphosa’s visit to the ANC in the province turned ugly when party supporters in eThekwini openly sang Wenzen Zuma Wenzen Zuma? (what wrong has Zuma done?) However, Magashule said at a media briefing earlier this week that the ANC’s NWC had held talks with regional and provincial leaders and managed to secure a “ceasefire”.
This would result in the convening of a provincial conference, he said.
“Comrades are working together to forge unity for the ANC so we are able to score a decisive victory in terms of our general elections next year.
“We are highly impressed by the leadership of KZN at the regional and provincial level and we came out of that meeting more encouraged that the ANC in this province, and we hope throughout the country, is on the right course of uniting and forging ahead with unity and
cohesion,” Magashule said.
He also commented on guns being displayed at a recent consultative meeting of the party’s Moses Mabhida region.
He said the scenes of violence were untenable.
“It is un-ANC to have guns at meetings, fighting and all those things and we have condemned those matters.
“The issue of gate-keeping is no more a big issue (for the party) because we have said that any member who feels ‘that doesn’t appear on the register’ – or feels that there is gate-keeping, must approach the leadership,” Magashule said.