CityPress - - News - HLENGIWE NHLABATHI hlengiwe.nhlabathi@city­

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s pres­i­den­tial bid got a boost yes­ter­day when Gaut­eng ANC chair Paul Mashatile en­dorsed him as a leader who will in­stil con­fi­dence and pro­tect the coun­try from all forms of cap­ture.

Mashatile was speak­ing at the West Rand re­gional gen­eral coun­cil, where he also said the prov­ince wanted a con­sen­sus in the elec­tion of lead­ers at the ANC De­cem­ber con­fer­ence and would not dis­crim­i­nate against any­one who met the cri­te­ria.

He re­vealed that, as part of en­gag­ing with other prov­inces, he had met with ANC chair David Mabuza, who ex­pressed in­ter­est in work­ing to­gether.

“He came to me and said this thing of fac­tions is no longer work­ing. He said we should find a way to work to­gether, and that’s what we are do­ing,” he told del­e­gates at the con­fer­ence. The re­gion was the sec­ond to en­dorse Ramaphosa af­ter the North­ern Cape.

In root­ing for Ramaphosa, Mashatile em­pha­sised that the ANC did not need cow­ards who would put the coun­try up for sale, but peo­ple who would in­stil con­fi­dence and have the in­ter­ests of South Africans at heart. He said it was com­mon cause for the deputy to suc­ceed the pres­i­dent, as had been the case his­tor­i­cally in the ANC.

Mashatile men­tioned, among other things, that a prece­dent had been set re­gard­ing suc­ces­sion and used as an ex­am­ple how the ANC’s long­est-serv­ing pres­i­dent for 30 years, OR Tambo, suc­ceeded for­mer ANC pres­i­dent Al­bert Luthuli, and added that Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma took over from for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki.

“I know that it is not pol­icy, but we can say that it’s his­tory,” he said to loud ap­plause.

Mashatile raised con­cerns about how the ANC had weak­ened un­der Zuma be­cause it ar­ro­gantly did not lis­ten to its peo­ple, and he said del­e­gates had to en­sure it elected a lead­er­ship col­lec­tive with in­tegrity.

“Our peo­ple will never aban­don the ANC if we do the right thing. But they can­not con­tinue to sup­port us if we de­vi­ate. It’s im­por­tant that our mes­sage very clear that we will get the ANC back onto its right path.

“We need to win the con­fi­dence of our peo­ple, and that is some­thing that we will em­pha­sise,” he said.

Mashatile said he was glad that the ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee had opened up the suc­ces­sion de­bate be­cause some peo­ple had be­gun cam­paign­ing when the time was not right.

He warned that no com­pro­mised lead­ers or those who were in­tent on en­rich­ing them­selves would be con­sid­ered. He urged the prov­ince to be united, say­ing peo­ple were tired of wak­ing up to scan­dals about state cap­ture.

There will still be a se­ries of re­gional and provin­cial gen­eral coun­cils ahead of the ANC’s main pol­icy con­fer­ence at the end of this month, in­clud­ing in the North­ern Cape and the Free State.

ANC North­ern Cape chair Za­mani Saul yes­ter­day de­liv­ered his po­lit­i­cal over­view to del­e­gates at the spe­cial provin­cial gen­eral coun­cil. He also un­for­giv­ing in his crit­i­cism of the ANC, say­ing South Africans ex­pected the in­tel­lec­tual peo­ple in the ANC to res­cue it from the prob­lems it faced.

He said the ANC was on the brink of a precipice and had lost its moral com­pass, and “has con­ceded moral lead­er­ship of our coun­try to forces that are hos­tile to our his­toric mis­sion”.

He said that, al­most every week, there were new rev­e­la­tions that im­pli­cated se­nior lead­ers of the ANC in the par­a­sitic cap­i­tal­ist net­work of the Gupta fam­ily.

“In the face of such an as­sault on our move­ment, there can be no self-re­spect­ing mem­ber or leader of the ANC who can as­sume a po­si­tion of neu­tral­ity. We are called upon to take a stand to de­fend our move­ment and lead­ers from state cap­ture.”

Mean­while, ANC Free State chair Ace Ma­gashule, a close Zuma ally, did not hes­i­tate to de­fend Zuma dur­ing the Free State con­fer­ence, telling del­e­gates to re­spect ANC lead­ers.

He said he had ex­pected Ramaphosa to at­tend the gath­er­ing yes­ter­day. He said Ramaphosa would have been wel­comed like any other ANC leader, in what ap­peared to be a sug­ges­tion that the deputy pres­i­dent would not have been booed, as has per­vi­ously been threat­ened.

“We elected him in 2012 when many oth­ers did not want him to be deputy pres­i­dent. At that time, some peo­ple said he was part of monopoly cap­i­tal. To­day, they make as if we do not want him. Lead­er­ship is elected.”

How­ever, he was quick to point out that there was no his­tory of a deputy pres­i­dent tak­ing over from the pres­i­dent, adding that branches would make that de­ci­sion.

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