Mabuza – man of the moment
As DD ponders ANC presidential choices, indications are that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the frontrunner
The ANC in Mpumalanga has until now kept the name of its preferred presidential candidate close to its chest, but indications are that former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the frontrunner. Mpumalanga ANC chairperson Premier David Mabuza appears to be sitting pretty on who he should support as the next president, as all the slates, bar former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa’s, have him either as deputy president or in one of the other top six positions.
Mabuza’s talk of prioritising ANC unity above jostling for positions and reaching out to estranged comrades seems to have earned him favour across all factions. Moreover, the fact that he is the only top six contender with a province fully behind him has made him the most wanted man by all.
The results of Mpumalanga’s regional elective conferences in Ehlanzeni (Mbombela), Nkangala (Middelburg), Gert Sibande (Ermelo) and Bohlabela (Bushbuckridge) last weekend saw all of Mabuza’s staunch supporters retained in those executives.
This confirms that the ANC’s Mpumalanga structures and leagues are still unwavering in their campaign for his election as deputy president of the ANC in December – a provincial executive committee (PEC) resolution taken two years ago.
Branches are still discussing who, between Dlamini-Zuma and current deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, the province will rally behind, said ANC provincial secretary Mandla Ndlovu.
According to insiders, Mabuza has been meeting both candidates and has also not made up his mind. However, that the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has kick-started his deputy presidency campaign and its endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma’s candidacy suggest that he may have been convinced to follow suit.
Initially, according to a Mabuza campaigner, the premier was not keen on supporting either DlaminiZuma or Ramaphosa because that would go against his gospel of unity and decimation of factions.
Mabuza has said that he would have preferred for the branches to agree on leadership and avoid contestation in the December elective conference that may split the ANC.
It may seem, however, that Mabuza does not hold such a view anymore and might support one of the two presidential candidates.
When asked for comment about the succession race, Ndlovu strongly hinted that the PEC could support Dlamini-Zuma.
“We’re still having a conversation among ourselves as branches. We have a candidate but I can’t give you a name yet, but we agree 80% with what the ANCYL, the [Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association] and the [ANC Women’s League] have said,” Ndlovu said.
The leagues have already pronounced DlaminiZuma as their preferred candidate.
“Both comrades [Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa] are good and seasoned cadres. The tendency to judge Dlamini-Zuma on the current president [Jacob Zuma] is wrong,” Ndlovu said.
“Comrades are talking all over the country about who we support. They get it wrong, they don’t know Mpumalanga, and that means our comrades are disciplined,” he added.
ANCYL deputy president Desmond Moela said that the league had not yet engaged with the PEC about its decision to support Dlamini-Zuma to succeed President Zuma.
“We took our decision after serious deliberations and we will be engaging Mpumalanga very soon about our decision and lobby them to agree with us,” Moela said.
The SA Communist Party (SACP) in Mpumalanga indicated that it was still not in favour of the election of anyone who had been linked to the socalled Premier League.
“There’s no Mpumalanga alliance position on the presidency. We don’t involve ourselves in their choice, but if it’s the Premier League … no. They’re corrupt to the core and captured by the Guptas,” said SACP provincial secretary Bonakele Majuba.
WANTED MAN David Mabuza has been meeting with candidates