Ramaphosa gets major boost from unexpected quarter
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