DURBAN - "Stop the animosities, stop the feuds, and stop all these conflicts."
That is the advice former KwaZulu-Natal premier and provincial ANC Chair S’bu Ndebele has for warring factions in the province.
In an exclusive interview with eNCA’s Siphamandla Goge, Ndebele said the governing party needs to urgently revive itself to regain lost ground.
Ndebele, who is an ANC NEC member and previously served as a cabinet minister, said tensions in the provincial ANC are deep and historical.
LISTEN: Senzo Mchunu wants PEC to go
Now, for the first time, Ndebele has revealed how divisions between himself and ANC Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize threatened the party's unity in the province.
“We met after the conference in 2002. We met for thirteen hours one-on-one with Comrade Zweli Mkhize and each one was saying 'they say, you say this about me' and 'he says they say you say this about me'. And we went through all these things and said 'no, this thing is not correct'.
"So, after this 13-hour marathon meeting of the two of us, we finished around 10 or so in the evening and we phoned the provincial secretary comrade Sipho Gcabashe… when we met with the PWC we stated that it’s over. The war is over. You can no longer do it in any of our names.”
KZN's longest-serving former provincial chair believes current political tensions can be resolved peacefully.
“Not that there will be no disagreement. The ANC is a very argumentative organisation, that’s what keeps it alive. But it should never descend to animosities and all those conflicts that we see today.
"In KZN the ugly head of political violence is rearing its ugly head again. What is shocking me now is that we are not even shocked. We seem to think that violence is part of the DNA of the ANC, it is not.”
Ndebele is leading a panel set up by the party’s National Executive Committee to investigate violence at its Eastern Cape's provincial conference in August.
“The way they’ve received us - there is no one is dragging their feet in attending the meetings. The meetings are attended to capacity. If it’s the PEC (Provincial Executive Committee) or the former PEC or complainants or whoever, they come, all of them.
"There is a realisation that the key, the answer lies within ourselves. Because mind you, the President and office bearers have been there. So, now it’s to really work on this matter now and bring it to conclusion and that conclusion lies primarily within the comrades themselves.”
Ndebele, who was recalled from his posting as High Commissioner to Australia to face fraud and corruption charges, did not want to comment on the case.