ANC members reined in on succession debate
AIC threatens to break ties over Matatiele ‘condition’
THE ANC has put a lid on the succession debate after various factions came out to back their preferred candidates to succeed President Jacob Zuma at the party’s elective conference in December.
The party has decided to write to its branches to discourage its members from discussing the succession race and rather focus on the upcoming policy conference in June, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte told editors at a breakfast briefing in Joburg yesterday.
Duarte said that at its national working committee meeting on Monday, the ANC decided to put a lid on the debate, which is yet to be opened, after remarks by some leaders and the ANC Women’s League about who should succeed Zuma when he steps down.
The ANCWL prefers outgoing AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, while the party’s alliance structures, including labour federation Cosatu, have spoken out about their support for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Yesterday, ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete, who has also availed herself to succeed Zuma, said the party was finding it “very difficult to manage the situation”, owing to people’s anxieties being aired in public about their preferred candidates.
The fact that the ruling party was yet to open the succession debate had done little to deter the ANCWL, among other structures, from openly endorsing Dlamini-Zuma to succeed Zuma.
Zuma also came under harsh criticism when he told millions of listeners on three SABC radio stations last week that the country was ready for a female president, and this was viewed as a tacit endorsement for his ex-wife, DlaminiZuma.
The president said it was not the policy or tradition of the ANC for a deputy president to automatically ascend to the number one position when the president stepped down.
But ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the party needed to ask itself difficult questions if it did not elect the deputy to succeed the outgoing president.
Yesterday, Mbete said she was surprised by the ANCWL’s endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma, which came on the eve of the January 8 statement.
Speaking on 702, the National Assembly Speaker said the 105-yearold movement was grappling with two principles: that a woman should lead the party, and that the deputy should succeed the president.
“The national working committee had a meeting about these articles (in the media), pronouncements and voices, and we have decided that everybody must stop it.
“There are also distortions about how stories are formulated after we have been engaged by journalists,” Mbete said, adding that they ANC had always worked according to the wishes of the party’s structures.
THE ANC’s control of the Ekurhuleni metro under mayor Mzwandile Masina appears to be under threat as one of the coalition partners, the African Independent Congress (AIC), threatens to pull out.
The threat became more serious this week after the planned meeting between ANC and AIC, which was to be held on January 15, failed to materialise. It was supposed to address the modalities of the reincorporation of Matatiele into KwaZulu-Natal, but ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe was in George, in the Western Cape, for the ANC birthday celebrations.
Ekurhuleni became the only metro in Gauteng to be retained by the ANC after the AIC, the PAC, the Patriotic Alliance under Gayton Mckenzie, and Independent Ratepayers Association of SA under Izak Berg agreed to vote along with the ANC and ensured that Masina was elected as mayor.
The other metros of Joburg and Tshwane, which were previously under the ANC, were taken over by the DA after the EFF urged its councillors to vote with the DA, which led to ANC councillors occupying the opposition benches.
Now, Ekurhuleni looks set to fall under the DA if the ANC does not agree to reincorporate Matatiele into KZN, which formed the basis of the coalition between the ANC and AIC.
The meeting to resolve this matter has now been scheduled for this weekend.
AIC general secretary Steven Jafta said: “We are yet to finalise our agreement. We will give the ANC until the end of March to make a final decision on the reincorporation of Matatiele. The reincorporation was our first condition of entering into a coalition with the ANC in Ekurhuleni and Rustenburg. The ANC knows that we want the entire area, including all voting stations to be reincorporated into KwaZulu-Natal.”
He said the ANC was also aware that the people of Matatiele wanted to be reincorporated into KZN, where they hope to have access to health and social services.
“In 2009, the then minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sicelo Shiceka, held a referendum on the issue.
“The results were withheld. Minister Shiceka never released the results. Our own view was that Shiceka did not divulge the outcome of the results because the majority of the people had expressed their desire to be reincorporated into KZN.”
He was adamant that his party would pull out of the coalition if the ANC did not agree to the AIC’s demands.
Mantashe said “progress” had been made in the negotiations with the AIC on the matter, and that the ANC would communicate the outcome in due course.
He said the ruling party was not worried about the AIC pulling out of the coalition agreements in Ekurhuleni and Rustenburg. “We will talk to them; our relationship must not be controlled by communicating to newspapers.”
In December, Mantashe was able to save the fragile coalition in another meeting, when the AIC threatened to pull out.