DD Mabuza: Don’t support factions
The ANC in Mpumalanga claims to have no plans to rally behind either of the two frontrunners put forward to succeed President Jacob Zuma in the party’s December elective conference, saying factions are splitting the party.
Emphasising unity and renewal in a governing party that has become bedevilled by growing disputes over whether Zuma should step down, Premier David Mabuza called on his province not to support the factional groups supporting either former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mpumalanga ANC secretary Mandla Ndlovu said the province hoped for an elective conference in December that would not be contested, but had reached consensus over its preferred candidates for the top leadership.
“We will be happy if all the slates can be consolidated and we have one slate, supported by all the provinces, leagues and alliance partners,” said Ndlovu.
“We are not going a third route, but want to be inclusive and accommodating,” he added, in reference to calls for a third, neutral candidate to avoid a repeat of the bruising battle between Zuma and then president Thabo Mbeki in the aftermath of the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a campaigner for Mabuza said supporting either frontrunner would appear factional and defeat all purposes of Mabuza’s efforts to unite the organisation. “We do not want to support a faction and appear factional, so we are going for a neutral candidate.”
Mabuza has publicly ruled himself out of the race for any of the top six positions if it means he has to compete against another comrade. He also distanced himself from the race last weekend when he welcomed Cleopas Maunye, the former Bushbuckridge Residents’ Association secretary and provincial legislature member, back into the ANC, along with 1 500 association members.
“I am not willing to stand. Groupings are resulting in the demise of the ANC. Our contribution as Mpumalanga is about uniting the organisation,” he said.
However, bringing back sidelined comrades and uniting the party seems to be Mabuza’s way of securing ANC branches’ support when he runs for the position of deputy president in December.
Mabuza has also vowed to bring Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and the EFF’s Mpumalanga leader, Collen Sedibe, back into the ANC fold.
Sedibe said Mabuza asked for a meeting after a legislature sitting on Thursday, adding that he would meet the premier and turn him down.
EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee rejected Mabuza again this week, saying the party was not formed to be a parking station, with the intention “to return to a burning house called the ANC”.
“ANC stalwarts, [labour federation] Cosatu and social movements sprouting all over are saying that the ANC is rotten and captured by the Indian Gupta family. We are not going back,” said Gardee.