Youth support Lamola in ANC’s Mpumalanga chairperson race
Former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) deputy president Ronald Lamola’s name has being thrown into the hat to contest for the position of Mpumalanga ANC chairperson. He would replace Premier David Mabuza, who is being punted for a top national position in the party.
Lamola’s popularity among youth league members manifested itself during the Mpumalanga ANCYL provincial general council last weekend, when they shouted his name as Mabuza confirmed that he was definitely leaving the province and would prefer to have a younger person succeed him. Mabuza and Lamola publicly buried the hatchet a month ago, undertaking to work together to promote unity in the province.
Mabuza also surprised his members at that meeting when he announced that he wanted Lamola to assist him in his quest to bring Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema back into the ANC fold.
Although nothing has been officially confirmed, the ANCYL members seemed to be endorsing Lamola to succeed Mabuza as provincial ANC chairperson. However, this may cause discomfort among senior ANC members in the province. Many sources have dismissed this endorsement from the league’s delegates as implausible.
Two ANCYL sources told City Press that Lamola was also being considered for the position as chair of the Bohlabela region in Bushbuckridge, which is where he comes from, as an alternative and a career stepping stone.
“There’s a plan under discussion for him to be the regional chairperson. The four regional conferences are taking place in the first week of April,” said an ANCYL source.
“We know that the chairperson [Mabuza] is also ruled out Lamola’s chances of succeeding Mabuza: “That will not happen. Where will most of the senior members be when that happens?”
Lamola denied any knowledge about being “proposed” to take any position in Mpumalanga. “I’ve not been approached by any structure in the region or province,” he said.
However, Lamola said he supported the idea of courting Malema back to the ANC, saying that internal processes would have to be followed. This would include getting a mandate from the party to rescind the decision to expel him.
The EFF dismissed any possibility that Malema would return to the ANC.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said: “Malema will never be recruited into any political work or formation by a kleptocrat like Mabuza, who represents everything that is wrong about the ruling party [ANC]; he is like Zuma’s first-born kleptomaniac. Like all kleptocrats, they suffer deep ideological bankruptcy because all they know is corruption.”
Lamola is one of a number of ANC members who were sidelined and who Mabuza has been luring in his attempt to unite the organisation. Mabuza has also not given up on dissolving the Bushbuckridge Residents Association, which splintered from the ANC in 2011. A source said a big announcement related to the “project” would be made over the coming days.
Mabuza’s plan was to take a united and stronger ANC province to the national conference in December, where he is eyeing the deputy presidency position. His strategy is to use his ability to unite the ANC as a ticket to a top-six position.
At the moment, he appears to be the only contender for a top-six position with support from all Mpumalanga’s provincial structures.
Andile Mngxitama and Ronald Lamola