Zweli Mkhize was spotted at the ANC KZN conference after Ramaphosa snubbed ANC's ninth elective conference in KZN. The most that these people can hope for is to challenge Ramaphosa, perhaps through a nomination of former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was billed to attend the closing of the ninth provincial elective conference in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday, is no longer available.
Zweli Mkhize

This was confirmed by former spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela who said, “He is no longer available.”

Speaking to Newsroom Afrika, newly elected chair Siboniso Duma also confirmed that Ramaphosa will not show his face “due to other commitments”.

“We have just spoken to the president this morning and he has congratulated the collective but he already had other commitments for today. So he is not going to come and close.

“It is the tradition of the ANC to deploy a comrade of the NEC to open the conference, and the TG [Paul Mashatile] has done so. The new chair is going to close the conference and set the tone for what what’s going to happen next.”

Duma said this was not an indication that Ramaphosa was snubbing the conference as he did not close the recently held Gauteng conference.

But even if that happens, it is unlikely he could beat Ramaphosa in the ANC in December. And indeed, the figure of Mkhize on the ANC’s election posters is unlikely to convince voters that the party is serious about fighting corruption while falling in line with the Digital Vibes scandal’s central cast player.

The ANC could lose control of the national government and many provincial premierships should it embark on a callous and self-centred course. South Africa does not trust it anymore – choosing an openly corrupt faction as its standard bearer will go a long way toward breaking the ties forever.

There are plenty of examples of a political party being so isolated and insulated from reality to lose touch with the electorate, fight the wrong battles and lose significant elections.

The ANC in KZN may soon prove to be another example of this. This weekend’s conference foreshadows what could happen to the ANC.