Ramaphosa gets ma­jor boost from un­ex­pected quar­ter

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI AND BON­GANI HANS

MPUMALANGA looks set to pro­vide the pres­i­den­tial as­pi­ra­tions of Cyril Ramaphosa with a huge boost.

Once part of the group­ing known as the Premier League – to­gether with the Free State and North West prov­inces – Mpumalanga seemed to dis­tance it­self from this ar­range­ment this week when its Premier David Mabuza told the me­dia: “I’m no longer part of a fac­tion.”

How­ever, he stopped short of openly back­ing Ramaphosa in the ANC lead­er­ship’s suc­ces­sion race.

But he didn’t need to, be­cause there were oth­ers to do it for him.

Some del­e­gates from Mpumalanga con­firmed they would start cam­paign­ing for Ramaphosa as soon as they re­turn home.

It would be an earnest cam­paign, a source promised, adding that Mpumalanga also wanted Mabuza to be deputy pres­i­dent.

The same source said Mabuza had been sum­moned for a dis­cus­sion by his erst­while col­leagues in the Premier League, where he had been ac­cused of sell­ing out.

Ramaphosa was in the prov­ince less than two months ago – in May – where he ad­dressed stu­dents dur­ing a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

Ear­lier in the same month, he also ad­dressed a Work­ers Day rally in the prov­ince.

He was fol­lowed to Mpumalanga by Min­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Mosebenzi Zwane, who is al­lied to the Premier League.

The re­sponse to Zwane as op­posed to Ramaphosa was as dif­fer­ent as chalk from cheese.

Zwane was chased out of Mid­del­burg in Mpumalanga, where he had been sched­uled to ad­dress peo­ple re­gard­ing the re­cently un­veiled Min­ing Char­ter.

The del­e­gate said Zwane had been chased away be­cause he had not told Mabuza he was com­ing to the prov­ince.

“We will con­sol­i­date our cam­paign af­ter the pol­icy con­fer­ence,” he said.

Mabuza had been backed by the KwaZulu-Natal ANC Youth League to re­place Ramaphosa as the deputy pres­i­dent. The league’s pro­vin­cial chair­per­son, Kwazi Mshengu, said the league would con­tinue to sup­port Mabuza.

He ac­cused Ramaphosa’s sup­port­ers of spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion.

“The na­tional stand is still the same that we will sup­port DD (Mabuza) to be the deputy pres­i­dent at the next con­fer­ence of the ANC,” he said.

“I have spo­ken to the pres­i­dent of the youth league and the SG (sec­re­tary-gen­eral) and none of them know where the story came from,” he added.

Mshengu de­nied that Mabuza held dif­fer­ent views from the youth league on the is­sue of ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with­out com­pen­sa­tion. “We are to­gether in say­ing let us ex­pro­pri­ate with­out com­pen­sa­tion,” said Mshengu.

But Mabuza said he did not back calls for the ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with­out com­pen­sa­tion. He said there was noth­ing wrong with the con­sti­tu­tion.

Mshengu said Mabuza’s state­ment that he did not want to be part of factionalism should not be in­ter­preted as mean­ing that he was leav­ing Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s side for Ramaphosa’s side.

He said the league agreed that the party mem­bers should not be part of fac­tions and that “we must strive to unite the or­gan­i­sa­tion”.

“If our po­si­tion is in­ter­preted as sup­port­ing a fac­tion, it means that sup­port­ing Cyril must be in­ter­preted the same way.

“You can­not say that if some­one is mov­ing from us to an­other po­si­tion that that per­son has ditched a fac­tion,” said Mshengu.

The ANCYL’s KwaZu­luNatal spokesper­son, Mandla Shange, said the ru­mours that Mabuza was leav­ing Dlamini Zuma’s camp or that the ANC had dropped him was linked to Mpumalanga’s with­drawal from op­pos­ing the Di­ag­nos­tic Re­port, which ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe pre­sented to con­fer­ence del­e­gates on Fri­day.

The re­port was seen as a scathing in­dict­ment of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

Among is­sues raised were state cap­ture and the in­ter­fer­ence of the in­flu­en­tial Gupta fam­ily in the af­fairs of the gov­ern­ment.

“A del­e­gate from Mpumalanga had ob­jected to the re­port, and KwaZulu-Natal had sec­onded the ob­jec­tion. But Mabuza later with­drew the ob­jec­tion,” said Shange.

Mpumalanga premier no longer part of a fac­tion They will start cam­paign­ing when they get home

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