Masina’s power ‘plan’

In­sid­ers say Ekurhu­leni mayor is plot­ting an exit and is set­ting his sights on tak­ing Gaut­eng Premier David Makhura’s job and be­com­ing the pro­vin­cial chair of the ANC

CityPress - - News - HLENGIWE NHLABATHI hlengiwe.nhlabathi@city­press.co.za

As the ANC fights to cling to power in Ekurhu­leni, news of mayor Mzwandile Masina al­ready hav­ing an exit strat­egy is spread­ing like wild­fire.

Ac­cord­ing to ANC and ANC Youth League in­sid­ers in Gaut­eng who spoke to City Press, not only has Masina cho­sen his suc­ces­sor, but he has am­bi­tiously also set his sights on Premier David Makhura’s job in the near fu­ture.

His lob­by­ists have ap­par­ently started ap­proach­ing cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als to cam­paign for him in his bid to be­come ANC pro­vin­cial chair­per­son, a po­si­tion cur­rently oc­cu­pied by Paul Mashatile.

This has raised many eye­brows in the prov­ince be­cause the ex­pec­ta­tion was that Makhura would be Mashatile’s nat­u­ral suc­ces­sor when the prov­ince goes to its elec­tive con­fer­ence to­wards the end of next year. There has been a push since last year to bring the con­fer­ence for­ward to this year.

Masina has flatly de­nied the claims that he will not serve his full term or that he in­tends to hand over the may­oral ba­ton to close ally Le­siba Mpya, the re­gional chair of the ANC Youth League, whom he ap­pointed as the may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for hu­man set­tle­ments in his ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil.

Masina, who boasted about his pop­u­lar­ity in Ekurhu­leni, told City Press this week that he was pre­pared to serve his full term un­til 2021. But he quickly added that it was not en­tirely de­pen­dent on him.

“It’s de­pen­dent on the coali­tion. The only thing that can re­move me is if the coali­tion falls apart; I’m not in con­trol of that,” he said.

De­spite Masina pour­ing cold wa­ter over claims of his am­bi­tions, in­sid­ers in­sisted that “Masina wants the prov­ince”.

“He has in­deed cho­sen Le­siba as a suc­ces­sor be­cause he trusts him,” said an ANC Youth League leader.

They said that for Masina to sus­tain his cam­paign to be premier, he needs “solid” peo­ple be­hind him as may­ors, and that is why he would choose Mpya to suc­ceed him.

“The ground is be­ing pre­pared,” said the youth leader.

He added that by choos­ing Mpya, Masina “has be­come po­lit­i­cally ma­ture be­cause he is some­one he can trust com­pared with the oth­ers around him”.

He added that Masina was also set to lobby for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign with the hope that his hard work would pay off when the time for the ap­point­ment of pre­miers comes.

“Masina hopes all his hard work in that cam­paign will pay off.”

An­other ANC in­sider said Mpya’s rise to power in the re­gion was ev­i­denced by the fact that Masina didn’t think twice about leav­ing him in charge as act­ing mayor dur­ing his re­cent of­fi­cial trip to China.

Masina added fuel to the fire when he posted on so­cial me­dia that he con­sid­ered Mpya a rare tal­ent he will leave be­hind.

“As I plan to hand over the ba­ton, I’m happy that, like Nkosindiphindile Xhakaza [sic] and Jon­giz­izwe Dla­bathi, I’ll leav­ing [sic] be­hind a rare tal­ent that I had the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop and saw it grow to a point of be­ing ready to take the re­gion for­ward ... I have no doubt that the fu­ture is bright,” he wrote.

Xhakaza and Dla­bathi are part of Masina’s team in Ekurhu­leni.

They, to­gether with Mpya, were in­stru­men­tal in Masina’s cam­paign for chair­man­ship in the re­gion.

An­other in­sider said: “Masina wants the prov­ince; he has in­deed cho­sen Mpya as a suc­ces­sor be­cause he trusts him more than the oth­ers.”

Claims of Mpya wait­ing in the wings have stirred up a de­bate about a pos­si­ble boomerang ef­fect on Masina, as those in his in­ner cir­cle are po­lit­i­cally se­nior but were side­lined in Mpya’s favour. In ad­di­tion, some of his close al­lies are said not to be con­vinced that Masina could take con­trol of Gaut­eng.

How­ever, even Masina ac­knowl­edges that un­til the branches nom­i­nate him, he will stay on as leader of the op­po­si­tion in Ekurhu­leni should the coali­tion col­lapse and power be trans­ferred to the op­po­si­tion.

“When the pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence comes and I have got suf­fi­cient sup­port, I will look at it at that par­tic­u­lar point in time. But, in the ANC, you don’t wake up and say you are go­ing to con­test the prov­ince,” said Masina.

“In Ekurhu­leni, it’s not like we are ho­moge­nous, we have dif­fer­ent views – even among our­selves. Even though I am re­spected as a leader, if you go to the prov­ince, it’s a jun­gle.”

The ANC risks los­ing the only metro it gov­erns in Gaut­eng if it fails to hon­our an agree­ment with its coali­tion part­ner, the African In­de­pen­dent Congress, to move Matatiele from the Eastern Cape back into KwaZulu-Natal. Talks with ANC lead­ers will con­tinue next month. The African In­de­pen­dent Congress’ sup­port saw the ANC take con­trol of Ekurhu­leni and Rusten­burg af­ter last year’s local gov­ern­ment elec­tions.

Masina said he needed to prove him­self be­fore he could con­test the prov­ince. He said he was part of the prov­ince’s hi­er­ar­chy, but there were oth­ers more qual­i­fied than him, in­clud­ing Makhura, Parks Tau, Ja­cob Khawula and Le­bo­gang Maile.

“Where would Makhura go if we con­test him?” he asked.

Makhura’s name has ap­peared on Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s slate as one of those who would form part of the top ANC lead­er­ship when the party elects new lead­ers in De­cem­ber. Makhura has dis­tanced him­self from this.

In­sid­ers said the suc­ces­sion plan in Gaut­eng was such that Makhura would take over as ANC chair­per­son for two terms, with Maile by his side if Mashatile gets elected to the top six. The plan would then see Maile as­sume Makhura’s po­si­tion.

PHOTO: TONY GUM

POL­I­TICS AND COLOUR The woman Vogue Magazine de­scribed as the ‘coolest girl in Cape Town’ is show­ing her work at the Cape Town Art Fair this week. This work by Tony Gum, ti­tled The In­dian Lady – C-Type print on fuji crys­tal ar­chive print – is one of those on show at Christo­pher Moller Gallery’s booth at the fair, which runs from Fri­day to Sun­day. Gum’s images on In­sta­gram, where she has 32 000 fol­low­ers, have earned her a world­wide fol­low­ing and many in­vi­ta­tions to show at in­ter­na­tional art ex­hi­bi­tions, in­clud­ing a suc­cess­ful show­ing to­wards the end of last year at the Art Basel in Mi­ami in the US. The work of Gum, a stu­dent at the Cape Penin­sula Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, has a po­lit­i­cal edge. She told City Press last year: ‘As I read about black con­scious­ness, I started to steer away from strictly fashion. I wanted there to be a mes­sage.’

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