Mabuza con­tin­ues to push for un­con­tested ANC con­fer­ence

CityPress - - News - SIZWE SAMA YENDE sizwe.yende@city­

A unity ini­tia­tive by Mpumalanga ANC chair­per­son David Mabuza could put a span­ner in the works as ANC lead­ers cam­paign to be pres­i­dent of the party.

Mabuza yes­ter­day united five chairs of ANC prov­inces and pushed them to come up with a con­sen­sus lead­er­ship and ig­nore the lists – known as slates – com­piled by the lob­by­ists of Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, Nkosazana DlaminiZuma, Mathews Phosa, Lindiwe Sisulu, Baleka Mbete and Jeff Radebe.

Mabuza’s cam­paign to do away with slate pol­i­tics and have an un­con­tested na­tional con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber has been en­dorsed by the chairs of the Free State, North West, Gaut­eng, and strife-torn KwaZulu-Na­tal, as well as the leagues.

All these chair­peo­ple lead prov­inces that will send more than 2 500 del­e­gates to the con­fer­ence, which sug­gests that they might have their way when the ap­prox­i­mately 5 000 del­e­gates sit in less than three months.

Mabuza – who en­joys the sup­port of his pro­vin­cial ANC struc­tures – has avoided jump­ing into the pres­i­den­tial suc­ces­sion de­bate and said he would rather spend en­ergy on unit­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

His pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee wanted him to be the deputy pres­i­dent of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, but that talk has died down since he be­gan talk­ing about unity.

Supra Mahumapelo (North West chair­per­son and premier), Ace Ma­gashule (Free State chair­per­son and premier), Paul Mashatile (Gaut­eng chair­per­son) and Wil­lies Mchunu (KwaZu­lu­Na­tal deputy chair­per­son and premier) at­tended the Mpumalanga pro­vin­cial gen­eral coun­cil (PGC) yes­ter­day and threw their weight be­hind Mabuza.

A video in which Mabuza’s unity speeches were fea­tured among those de­liv­ered by stal­warts such as Oliver Tambo, Al­bert Luthuli and for­mer Zam­bian pres­i­dent Kenneth Kaunda, was played to the del­e­gates at the gen­eral coun­cil.

The clip also shows ANC na­tional chair­per­son Baleka Mbete and Ramaphosa laud­ing Mabuza for his ini­tia­tive on unity.

Mahumapelo said that Mpumalanga had made his­tory as the first prov­ince that has in­vited oth­ers to unite.

He said that, for unity to be achieved, the con­fer­ence must agree that the elec­tion of the top six ANC of­fi­cials must not be con­tested.

“The or­gan­i­sa­tion must speak with one voice, and we must speak among our­selves as fam­ily be­fore we go out­side. We can see the unity, and would like to thank the Almighty God for sav­ing him [Mabuza] for the or­gan­i­sa­tion,” Mahumapelo said.

Mashatile said he wished the PGC was a na­tional con­fer­ence be­cause of the unity it dis­played.

“Com­rades are al­ready cam­paign­ing,” he said, re­fer­ring to Ramaphosa, Dlamini-Zuma and Phosa.

“It’s fine, but we will call [on] them and en­gage [with] them [to] iden­tify the best among us to lead us. No win­ner takes all … that era has ended. Let’s start now to say no slate in the con­fer­ence. They say that, when we talk of unity, we’re look­ing for a third way. There’s only one way in the ANC and let’s nom­i­nate lead­ers who will unite us, and let’s leave fac­tions and go in one way,” Mashatile said.

Ma­gashule said the root cause of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s prob­lems was money and a lack of com­mit­ment to the or­gan­i­sa­tion. Ma­gashule said many ANC com­rades who par­tic­i­pated in the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle were job­less, but were still loyal to the ANC.

Mchunu said Mpumalanga was “way ahead whether we like it or not”, and said his strife-torn prov­ince would em­u­late what Mabuza had done. The un­usual squab­ble be­tween the ANC na­tion­ally and its KwaZulu-Na­tal re­gion is set to be set­tled at what is ex­pected to be a heated na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing on Friday.

The party’s pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (PEC) was left in a quandary af­ter it was de­clared il­le­git­i­mately con­sti­tuted by the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg High Court this week.

The court an­nulled the out­comes of the 2015 elec­tive con­fer­ence in which Sihle Zikalala emerged as the new pro­vin­cial chair­per­son, de­feat­ing then chair­per­son Senzo Mchunu. Claims of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties dom­i­nated the con­fer­ence, leav­ing 43 branches that sup­ported Mchunu to seek so­lace in the courts in June last year. Af­ter los­ing in court, the PEC vowed to ap­peal the out­come.

Luthuli House was left hav­ing to sum­mon the KwaZu­lu­Na­tal lead­er­ship to a meet­ing on Friday, where they ap­par­ently con­vinced them that it was up to the na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) to de­cide the next move.

The spe­cial NEC, which had been sched­uled to sit to­mor­row to ex­plore the best pos­si­ble way for­ward, was post­poned to Friday.

ANC spokesper­son Khusela San­goni said this was due to the un­avail­abil­ity of many NEC mem­bers at­tend­ing the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York.

The NEC could go the route of form­ing a task team to pre­pare struc­tures for the De­cem­ber elec­tive con­fer­ence.

It could even opt to de­ploy a team of se­nior ANC lead­ers to bring about sta­bil­ity in that prov­ince.

Which­ever way the NEC de­cides to go, it has to en­sure that the De­cem­ber elec­tive con­fer­ence is not af­fected.

ANC trea­surer-gen­eral Zweli Mkhize said the na­tional lead­er­ship must take re­spon­si­bil­ity for what hap­pened be­cause it was the NEC that made the de­ci­sion for the 2015 con­fer­ence to go ahead.

– Hlengiwe Nh­la­bathi

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