ANC Young Turks push for their man
● A powerful group of young ANC Gauteng leaders have told acting ANC provincial chairman and premier David Makhura that it is their turn to lead the party in the province.
Emfuleni mayor Jacob Khawe, economic development MEC Lebogang Maile and Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina met Makhura three weeks ago and told him of their ambitions.
They promised to support Makhura as chairman, but not his preferred deputy.
There is a succession battle brewing in the province with a group aligned to Maile and Khawe pushing for a takeover.
Khawe wants to take over from Hope Papo as provincial secretary while Maile seeks to be deputy chairman.
Maile will go up against former Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau and education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
Makhura, Khawe and Masina confirmed that they had met.
Masina said they had met twice for “political management of the coming provincial conference. It’s part of how we manage internal contradictions.”
Khawe said they had told Makhura of the importance of accommodating younger leaders in top leadership positions.
“It is time for the inclusion of the younger ones to work with the older ones. Gauteng voters are getting younger, opposition parties are getting younger,” said Khawe.
“ANC cannot be ignorant of that fact and therefore we think that there is a group of younger ones, a group of activists who can make a contribution, and therefore we are requesting them for an engagement and an agreement,” he added.
Khawe said the meetings were a sign of respect for Makhura as acting chairman.
This revelation comes amid fears from Makhura’s supporters that a Khawe-Maile win at next weekend’s conference will curtail the premier’s powers. They also fear that, should Maile become deputy chairman, he would challenge Makhura at the conference.
Khawe said: “I thought [the talk of a plan to challenge Makhura in future] is a creation, a base for us not to emerge and this base is created that ‘should [Maile and I] emerge [Makhura is] in trouble’. We engaged him on that basis. He said he doesn’t know it.”
Khawe said the three of them informed Makhura that they were “not a slate” and had not drawn up people they wanted to be part of the top five leadership.
“We only have two names out of five. We don’t dictate who should be the [other] three,” said Khawe.
He said that at the meeting they also cautioned Makhura against openly campaigning for people he preferred to lead the province with him.
Makhura, who is not opposed for the position of chairman, is said to prefer Tau to be his deputy.
“We are requesting him to accept that he is not contested, but he cannot dictate as to who should be the four [other leaders to lead with him]. He can make his preference, but he shouldn’t openly work for what he prefers and make it a rule,” said Khawe.
Maile said he could “neither confirm nor deny the meeting”.
Makhura said some of the things Khawe told the Sunday Times were not raised in the meetings. He said he had met over 20 ANC people in one-on-one meetings or in groups in the lead-up to next weekend’s conference.
“These were not secret meetings. I reported to the other office bearers of the ANC . . . those who are contesting would raise their issues and my message has always been ‘But those things you will resolve in the branches about who gets elected; let the branches speak,’ ” said Makhura.
Makhura denied that issues about who he preferred to be part of the provincial leadership were discussed at the meeting.
“Any attempt to draw me into the issue of who I support, I have refused. I have said that the ANC branches are very capable of identifying and electing leaders,” he said.