ANC camps for­tify for December con­fer­ence

CityPress - - News - HLENGIWE NHLABATHI and S’THEMBILE CELE news@city­

A rush to rally ANC branches be­hind pre­ferred pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates has be­gun in earnest ahead of of­fi­cial nom­i­na­tions for the new lead­er­ship that will look to pick up the pieces post the Ja­cob Zuma era.

With this week’s con­clu­sion of the party’s pol­icy con­fer­ence, where deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s sup­port­ers claimed first-leg vic­tory, City Press has learnt that both Ramaphosa’s and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s back­ers will fo­cus their en­er­gies on en­sur­ing that their can­di­dates find favour at branch level to boost their chances at the December elec­tive con­fer­ence.

There was wheel­ing and deal­ing on the side­lines of the six-day con­fer­ence as pro­vin­cial chair­per­sons met to dis­cuss strate­gies for the re­main­ing months ahead of Zuma’s cur­tain call in December.

City Press heard that one meet­ing took place at a Pre­to­ria ho­tel where those who at­tended in­cluded ANC Mpumalanga chair­per­son David Mabuza, con­sid­ered a key ally for any camp that wants to make in­roads given that he brings with him the only con­sol­i­dated prov­ince. Also rep­re­sented among the lead­ers were Gaut­eng, Eastern Cape, North­ern Cape, Lim­popo and West­ern Cape.

In­sid­ers said it was at this meet­ing that Mabuza pledged al­le­giance to the Ramaphosa camp. “That’s where DD [Mabuza] con­firmed that he will work with them, but the catch is him want­ing to be deputy. That is also the po­si­tion of his prov­ince. He warned that there should be no room for be­trayal and that every­one must play open cards,” said some­one with in­sight on the meet­ing.

“There is no fi­nal slate, what was agreed upon is who must be in­cluded, the likes of DD and Paul Mashatile are among those.”

Also in­cluded are the names of Lindiwe Sisulu, Jeff Radebe, Zweli Mkhize, Senzo Mchunu and Gwede Man­tashe.

Baleka Mbete also raised her hand this week and it is un­der­stood she wants her name in­cluded in a con­sol­i­dated list.

“We are now go­ing to do the ground­work. Re­gional con­fer­ences will be the fo­cus, so we are go­ing to be work­ing to­wards Septem­ber now. There are two months left to work the branches across the county to en­sure they pro­nounce on CR17.”

Zuma would be al­lowed to leave his po­si­tion with dig­nity at the elec­tive con­fer­ence, a move ex­pected to ren­der Par­lia­ment’s Au­gust 8 mo­tion of no con­fi­dence against him fu­tile.

“The chair­per­sons who favour Cyril agreed that Zuma must leave with dig­nity. Pol­icy con­fer­ence gave them sat­is­fac­tion that they have ev­ery­thing un­der con­trol in terms of bal­ances of forces.”

Those in Ramaphosa’s camp were also em­bold­ened by Mabuza’s with­drawal of a mo­tion to re­ject a crit­i­cal di­ag­nos­tic re­port. “Having DD on their side was the big­gest vic­tory.” Footage has emerged of the sup­port­ers of Dlamini-Zuma also meet­ing at the con­fer­ence. They are ex­pected to come up with a plan to re­place Mabuza and might even look for sup­port in his prov­ince, among those sym­pa­thetic to Dlamini-Zuma.

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