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ANC KZN boss to deal with party division

Sihle Zikalala addressed delegates calling for unity among reports of division and tensions.

Sihle Zikalala has been appointment as the new ANC chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - Newly elected KwaZulu-Natal African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Sihle Zikalala said those who attempt to disrupt the ANC will be dealt with firmly.

Premier Senzo Mchunu lost his position to Zikalala at the party's eighth provincial conference in Pietermaritzburg over the weekend.

During an address at the conference, President Jacob Zuma lashed out at former ANC leaders, who have criticised the ANC.

He warned against criticising ANC members and took swipes at former ANC leaders, who have commented on the party publicly, calling them politically immature.

Zikalala addressed delegates, calling for unity among reports of division and tensions.

"We must restore the vibrancy and activism of the ANC in eThekwini region and further restore confidence of the membership and the people."

He said members should avoid factionalism.

"We'll be firm with the unruly elements who attempt to disrupt our programmes."

Zikalala said the party should focus on retaining the ANC municipalities and work towards taking over others.

'MCHUNU IS SAFE'

Zikalala said Mchunu is safe and denied claims that he supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the ANC's 2017 leadership contest.

He said Mchunu is not going to be removed.

"We know nothing that would suggest that he must be removed. We've been working with comrade Senzo in the ANC as a chairperson. We've worked very well, even previously we were working together on many responsibilities together and we believe we'd be able to work going forward."

At the same time, the party said Zikalala is not new to leadership and has the ability and experience to unite the party ahead of the upcoming municipal elections in 2016.

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said the new leadership has a huge responsibility.

"The responsibility they carry from now on is to unite the province, to grow the ANC and to ensure that we go to elections with a strong team that's led by this leadership that's been elected."

Zuma on Saturday told delegatesto accept the outcome of the provincial conference.

Meanwhile, political analyst Professor Steven Friedman said Zikalala's election could boost support for Zuma in the province.

Friedman said the new top five shows a leadership that is sympathetic to Zuma.

"It's a victory for the so-called Premier League and some people think therefore a victory for the president. But I think you must also remember that KwaZulu-Natal is the president's strongest province and despite the election of Zikalala it's a divided province. But it does shows that the forces sympathetic to the president have the majority."