Mabuza continues to push for uncontested ANC conference
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