In the wake of vote losses in KZN, the ANC is out for retribution

Johannesburg- In the aftermath of an embarrassing defeat at the polls in Monday’s local elections,  the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is understood to be gunning for the party’s top leadership, blaming it for the massive electoral decline in the province

This despite the provincial leadership conceding the electoral losses were self-inflicted, pointing to endemic corruption and infighting, among others.

Disgruntled regions have called for the provincial and national leadership to fall on its sword for the party’s worst electoral defeat.

ANC structures such as Musa Dladla in northern KZN, Moses Mabhida in the midlands, General Gizenga Mpanza in KZN north coast and eThekwini region are said to be pushing for the party’s top brass to admit that mishandling ex-president Jacob Zuma’s matter was the cause for electoral bloodbath.

Sunday World understands through senior ANC leaders in KZN that the provincial leadership, comprising chairperson Sihle Zikalala and secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli, are under pressure to meet with Luthuli House.

So serious is the meeting that the leaders are said to have requested to meet face to face.

“Pressure is everywhere because members and leaders in regions want accountability for the dismal showing at the polls. There is a general view that the leadership failed to manage the Zuma matter and it led to anger among voters. It was the first time that we contested elections without the public presence of uMsholozi and we paid dearly for this,” said a senior leader who spoke to Sunday World on condition of anonymity.

In the most crushing of defeats, the ANC lost its majority in eThekwini metro, recording a paltry 42.02%, down from 56% in the last municipal elections.

The party claimed 96 seats and now needs at least 16 more seats to attain an outright majority.

eThekwini, with a population of over 3-million, is the economic powerhouse for the province and the only metro in KZN.

The DA and the EFF plotted the demise of the liberation movement, receiving 58 and 24 seats, respectively. The Msunduzi municipality, the province’s capital, is another council that slipped out of the ANC’s hands, forcing the party to negotiate a coalition.

KZN ANC spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela did not want to be drawn into the PEC’s (provincial executive committee) proposed meeting with Luthuli House, saying the losses were a collective responsibility.

“The PEC had already convened a meeting to reflect and take stock of our situation. We now know what needs to be done. We have been forthcoming that perceived corruption, issues of service delivery and internal divisions is what got us here. Electoral losses cannot be apportioned to individuals, they are a collective responsibility,” said Ntombela.

Political analyst Protas Madlala pointed to the crippling divisions in the party, as well as the anti-corruption stance taken by President Cyril Ramaphosa. “The stance on corruption, especially in eThekwini metro, was not well-received by some members and leaders. The ANC also suffered at the polls because of glaring failures in service delivery. People were angry that the party was not listening to their concerns,” said Madlala.


Sphelele Mzimela, an ANC member in the uMhlathuze local municipality, said he had been actively campaigning for the IFP to take over the council because of its track record in service delivery. “People are no longer interested in struggle credentials; they want a corruption-free municipality that
delivers services for people.”

Some of the key councils where the governing party lost its majority include:

Msunduzi, KZN capital city – The council has been rocked by corruption and recurring service delivery issues. In 2019, the ANC fired its mayor Themba Njilo and replaced him with Mzi Tebola. He too failed to make a meaningful impact, leading to sporadic community protests.

Umvoti – The municipality was engulfed by protests over service delivery and alleged corruption. The governing party did not heed the call from disgruntled residents that the

mayor Thamsanqa Ngubane should be shown the door.

KwaDukuza local municipality – Under the General Gizenga Mpanza region, one of the party’s strongholds and home to premier Sihle Zikalala,

internal squabbles between the ANC Youth League and the mother body crippled governance in the council.

UMngeni municipality – Council funds mysteriously disappeared without any accountability, leading to growing resentment from residents.

Other councils that the ANC lost are Maphumulo, Newcastle, Alfred Duma, Inkosi Langalibalele, Abaqulusi, Umdoni, uMuziwabantu, Mtubatuba, Dumbe and Mlalazi