eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda after being re-elected. Picture: Supplied
eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda after being re-elected. Picture: Supplied

EXCLUSIVE: Ace Magashule and Zweli Mkhize deliver eThekwini for the ANC

By Ayanda Mdluli, Thabo Makwakwa, Willem Phungula Time of article published Nov 24, 2021

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DURBAN - Former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize's negotiating skills have saved the ANC from losing eThekwini to the DA.

The Daily News was exclusively informed how Mkhize got involved and manoeuvred to save the ANC from the humiliation of losing the economic hub of the province.

The paper has established that a week-long discussion and persuasions behind closed doors helped rescue the sinking ship of the ANC in eThekwini, where the party retained control of the metro after Mxolisi Kaunda was re-elected as mayor.

According to Mkhize's spokesperson, Sphethile Mathenjwa, the former health minister was approached by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule who tasked him with a responsibility of saving the party from humiliation in the only metro in the province after losing all Gauteng metros to the DA.

In a last-minute attempt to save what was left of the liberation movement in KwaZulu-Natal, Magashule reportedly flew to the province on Friday last weekend to plead with Mkhize, who initiated discussions with minority parties to help the ANC retain control in eThekwini.

This was also confirmed by the Provincial Executive Committee member and Coordinator of the South African National Civic Organisation, Thulani Gamede, who told the Daily News that he had to plead with both leaders to jump in and save the ship from sinking.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and former Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize. File Picture: Timothy Bernard

“Magashule and Khabazela (Mkhize) are senior leaders in the ANC - we had to rope them in to try and negotiate with opposition parties and come to an agreement to allow the ANC in eThekwini to retain control of the city,” Gamede said.

Gamede mentioned that although he would have liked to approach former president Jacob Zuma to meet other ANC leaders to rescue the ANC in the province, he felt that Zuma was too ill to be involved.

When contacted for comment, Magashule confirmed that he was in eThekwini but refused to go into further details about his involvement in negotiating with other parties.

However, Mkhize is said to have approached the IFP and other small parties in eThekwini. He picked former ANC mayor Philani Mavundla and asked him to sway all small parties to support the ANC. Mkhize is a well-respected heavyweight in the province for his negotiating skills. He was central to ending the political violence between the ANC and IFP in the province and was said to be still commanding massive respect from the IFP top leaders in KZN.

He and Mavundla's relationship date back to his time as chairperson of the ANC in the province.

Mavundla refused to confirm that Mkhize approached him, but said his relationship with Mkhize was still intact, adding that he supported and nominated him for the position of provincial chairperson while he was still in the ANC.

"I cannot comment on what Mkhize did but I can tell you that me and him have a good relationship. All I am prepared to confirm is that my support for the ANC was negotiated at the highest level," said Mavundla.

For his role, Mavundla was nominated by the ANC for deputy mayor's position and won with 113 votes, beating IFP's Mdu Nkosi, who received 104 votes. Earlier on Mxolisi Kaunda defeated the DA's Nicole Graham with 113 votes for 104.

Both the DA and IFP lashed out at Mavundla for selling out the coalition. IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli and Dean Macpherson said it was surprising that on Monday all parties were agreeing to kick out the ANC but within 48 hours that principle had vanished.

These figures showed that the IFP, DA and EFF voted as a bloc, but many, if not all, voted for the ANC. ActionSA's Dr Makhosi Khoza said she and her three councillors maintained the principle and voted with the DA-led bloc.

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Daily News

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