ANC mem­bers reined in on suc­ces­sion de­bate

AIC threat­ens to break ties over Matatiele ‘con­di­tion’

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - @luy­olomken­tane LUY­OLO MKEN­TANE luy­olo.mken­

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.

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