ANC Young Turks push for their man

Sunday Times - - News Politics - By APHIWE DEK­LERK

● 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.

David Makhura

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