ANC camps fortify for December conference
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.