The Haymakers – Mpumalanga’s strongman

2012-10-13 18:33

David Mabuza is not only the ANC’s top man in Mpumalanga – he is also a “master strategist and a good organiser”, according to a member of the party’s national executive committee who supports President Jacob Zuma’s re-election.

Zuma’s backers believe that it’s these qualities that have united Mpumalanga behind the president.

Mabuza has been Zuma’s Mpumalanga strongman since before the party’s 2007 Polokwane conference, though those who took part in the campaigns claim he initially supported former president Thabo Mbeki and only defected to the “winning team” at the eleventh hour.

“After realising they were in a tight corner, they joined the song with us,” said a former Zuma lobbyist who is now campaigning for Kgalema Motlanthe to become president.

Mabuza has been a member of the ANC’s provincial executive committee since 1998 and that knowledge of the province’s political dynamics could come in handy in campaigning for Zuma’s second term.

Under his leadership as ANC provincial chairperson and premier, the Mpumalanga government has been dogged by tales of corruption, maladministration and political assassinations.

But on the political side, Mabuza has managed to keep Mpumalanga ANC fairly steadily behind Zuma.

The provincial government’s failings have meant relations between Mabuza and Tripartite Alliance partners have not always been easy.

They seem united behind Zuma as the party heads to Mangaung, though, something detractors have called “an alliance of convenience” to secure Zuma’s second term.

Mabuza’s efforts to get Zuma re-elected are fully backed by the provincial ANC Women’s League, but he’s battling with an ANC
Youth League divided between Zuma and Motlanthe.

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