Parties push for victory in KZN

KZN Legislature in Pietermaritzburg. | SHAN PILLAY

KZN Legislature in Pietermaritzburg. | SHAN PILLAY

Published May 9, 2024



Durban — The battle for control of KwaZulu-Natal is intensifying as main political rivals take their charm offensive to the coastal province.

Many parties, including the ANC, are deploying their big hitters to the province, in a desperate attempt to retain its majority. Among the bigwigs deployed by the party was the national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe, who will be at Richards Bay on Thursday and Friday.

Mantashe, who is also a member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC), the highest decision-making body, will be in the province until Monday.

Also in tow, is the party’s secretary-general, Fikile Mbalula, who will be criss-crossing the province in an attempt to charm voters ahead of the elections.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa is also expected to visit KZN over the weekend to boost the ruling party’s campaign.

Nomvula Mokonyane, the ANC’s first deputy secretary-general, conducted a door-to-door campaign trail of ward 6 in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.

The ANC won KZN by 54% in 2019, a province that it snatched from its arch-rival, the IFP, in 2004.

The provincial opposition, the IFP, managed 16%, while the DA got 13% and the EFF mustered 9%.

The IFP is upping the ante in a bid to reclaim the province.

IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa is throwing everything in his party’s campaign to dislodge the ANC.

In his bid to topple the ANC, Hlabisa will take his campaign to Uitvaal Sportsground (uThukela), on Thursday (today).

Buoyed by the success of a string of by-elections, the IFP is high on confidence in KZN ahead of the elections set for May 29.

“We’ll take the province to its former glory if you (voters) elect us to power in KZN,” said Hlabisa on his campaign trail in Maphumulo on Sunday.

The third largest party in KZN, the DA is also eyeing the province.

Party leader John Steenhuisen will be in Curries Fountain Stadium on Saturday at the party’s election event, dubbed “KZN Rescue Rally”.

The party’s KZN premier candidate, Chris Pappas, will also attend the event.

The EFF’s Julius Malema will also descend on the province from Tuesday until Friday next week.

“We are fighting to take the province of KwaZulu-Natal from the ANC. We want to govern this province and ensure that people get better services,” said the provincial secretary Nkululeko Ngubane.

He said Malema’s campaign would be in the Richards Bay and eThekwini regions.

Even though the former president Jacob Zuma-backed uMkhonto weSizwe Party is beset with internal squabbling, many pundits claimed that the new kid on the block would hamper the ANC’s results in the May 29 elections.

KZN’s total gross domestic product amounted to approximately R498 billion, which translates to 16% of the national output, making KZN the second largest economy after Gauteng at 35.2%, followed by the Western Cape at 13.8%.

KZN is also home to the Durban Harbour, the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa.

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