If Zandile Gumede knows what is good for her, she will stay clear of one Thanduxolo Sabelo

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By: Thando Dotyeni

King Cetshwayo arrived back in Zululand during January 1883, but within six months was again in hiding from would-be assassins, and on 8 February died by a poisoner’s hand. His teenage heir Dinizulu, who had remained secluded in Zululand throughout his father’s travels, was declared successor to the throne. It was time to switch allegiances again, and as the British had dismantled the Zulu Kingdom, Dinizulu now sought Boer protection. In exchange for a tract of land large enough to establish an independent state, the renewed alliance partners duly proclaimed him ‘King of the Zulus and of All Zululand’ and swore to keep Dinizulu’s enemies at bay.

The British were angered and dismissed the new king as merely ‘a nominal ruler in the hands of the Boer invaders’. And when the latter laid yet further territorial claims, British ire was raised to the point where they annexed Zululand in May 1887. Dinizulu’s objections were countered with the now famous rebuttal: ‘The rule of the House of Shaka is a thing of the past…dead…like water spilt on the ground. The Queen who conquered Cetshwayo now rules in Zululand – and no one else!’ Within two years, Dinizulu was convicted for ‘high treason and public violence’ and sentenced to ten years’ in jail on St Helena Island off West Africa. If I am correct, history is about to repeat itself. The Queen(Zandile Gumede) is falling, the poisonous hand is Thanduxolo Sabelo.

Noting that he had overstretched his support for former president Jacob Zuma, Sabelo swiftly organised himself a job in the all powerful 11-member executive committee of the eThekwini municipality in a move to rebuild his political profile as a high level political player in KZN.

Suddenly, the ANC youth league in eThekwini region turned on Gumede, warning against “electing a leader whose tainted reputation will damage the ANC brand”. With the target clearly being Gumede, the league warned against electing “older citizens” to key positions.

Supporters of Gumede, whom the ANC provincial executive committee had stripped of her mayoral position in eThekwini, are campaigning for her to claim back the position she lost when the PEC was disbanded. Gumede’s return to active politics may be a boost for Zuma-aligned politicians, but if she knows what’s good for her, she’ll stay clear of Thanduxulo Sabelo.

Gumede has teamed up with businessman, Musa Nciki, who wants to be the regional secretary in her slate. They will be up against a slate led by Thabani Nyawose who is said to be working with former regional secretary, Bheki Ntuli, who wants to return to his old position.

The process has been hampered by demands by one of the factions in the region to reconstitute the regional task team that was put in place in July. The faction that is sympathetic to Gumede alleges that the task team which is preparing for the conference is heavily staffed with her opponents, who are weakening her by stripping party members perceived to be loyal to her, of membership.

The league’s  campaign ahead of the 2015 regional conference helped Gumede to triumph over SACP provincial chairperson James Nxumalo. This time, the same league said Nyawose, who had supported Nxumalo in 2015, was a better person to lead the collective.

Sabelo clearly could not be the ANC youth league president and the regional secretary at the same time. Against his better hopes, he was beaten by age. His next feasible stop would be the regional position. If old time ANC politics is something to go by, Sabela will unhesitatingly move in on Gumede, setting himself as KZN’s youngest political powerhouse.

If you remember how the ANC Youth League in eThekwini  slammed  Gumede, over a pseudo video doing the rounds on social media purportedly showing the eThekwini mayor refusing to shake hands with  Sabelo, you’ll see the strategy behind Sabelo’s sudden interest in Regional structures. For Sabelo this is game for the future, the power, and the ultimate glory.
Gumede’s real enemy is now Thanduxolo Sabelo.

If Zandile Gumede knows what’s good for her, she’ll stay clear of Thanduxolo Sabelo.