Zuma set for victory

2011-12-23 11:09

Will he stay or will he go? Next year could be a watershed for President Jacob Zuma.

After his allies lost in Limpopo, speculation is rife on whether he will be able to pull enough votes for a second term.

KwaZulu-Natal

With 46 000 unaudited members to date, Western Cape will take the smallest number of delegates to the Mangaung congress.

The province is still rebuilding its structures after its former provincial executive committee was disbanded for 18 months.

Provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile said the province would convene a provincial general council early next year to shape its position on several issues towards Mangaung.

ANC leadership preferences have not featured highly on the province’s agenda and the outcome of the Limpopo conference might not influence anything, Mjongile said.

“In our province we come from a very low base. We had been hit hard by divisions that led to the disbandment of the PEC. Our core focus now is towards 2014 national elections.”

While chairperson Marius Fransman is considered a Zuma ally, the youth league is pinning its hopes on Mjongile, its former leader, to get Western Cape behind efforts to oust Zuma.

North West

The North West is yet to take an explicit position on the race for the ANC leadership, but the current political environment favours Zuma.

Provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge said the province will convene a provincial general council (PGC) in February, to assess the state of the organisation and the “performance of the ANC leadership”.

It is this PGC that will determine the road to Mangaung for the province.

The opposing factions, one led by Mataboge and the other by chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, are treating the PGC as a “dog-eat-dog affair” that could result in one of them being removed through a motion of no confidence.

The province is known for divisions that have been inherited from one provincial executive committee to the next, but in the current PEC Mahumapelo has the upper hand.

His supporters backed former president Thabo Mbeki against Zuma in 2007, but have now switched over to Zuma.

Mataboge is a known youth league ally and has always bought into the league’s programmes.

What complicates matters for Zuma’s opponents is that the PEC co-opted three additional members last week, all Mahumapelo allies, strengthening the Zuma camp.

Eastern Cape

This is the ANC’s second biggest province and one of the likely kingmakers. Provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane said it was too early to credit the outcome of last weekend’s Limpopo conference for paving the way to the results of the ANC’s national leadership elections.

“Limpopo is nothing anyone can get excited about; experience will tell you it’s too early. Eastern Cape is in a better position. From where I’m sitting we’ll be playing a more crucial role (than Limpopo).

“We will make a difference because we are sitting with numbers,” Mabuyane said.

He said the 2009 provincial conference, where his supporters were elected, was an example of how dynamic things were before any conference.

Ahead of the conference a slate led by Mcebisi Jonas was expected to win, but was usurped late in the game by an SACP-aligned grouping headed by current provincial chairperson Phumulo Masualle.

Zuma was likely to get a big chunk of the vote, given the strength and unity of the alliance in the province.

Masualle is also the SACP’s national treasurer. Also ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe hails from Eastern Cape and is using his homeboy status to influence things.

Western Cape

With 46 000 unaudited members to date, Western Cape will take the smallest number of delegates to the Mangaung congress.

The province is still rebuilding its structures after its former provincial executive committee was disbanded for 18 months.

Provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile said the province would convene a provincial general council early next year to shape its position on several issues towards Mangaung.

ANC leadership preferences have not featured highly on the province’s agenda and the outcome of the Limpopo conference might not influence anything, Mjongile said.

“In our province we come from a very low base. We had been hit hard by divisions that led to the disbandment of the PEC. Our core focus now is towards 2014 national elections.”

While chairperson Marius Fransman is considered a Zuma ally, the youth league is pinning its hopes on Mjongile, its former leader, to get Western Cape behind efforts to oust Zuma.

Free State

Jacob Zuma has got reason to bank on Free State because his ally, ANC provincial chairperson Ace Magashule, is still holding on to much of the support in the province.

Provincial secretary Sibongile Besani said the outcome of Limpopo’s conference will have no influence on Free State.

“Our situations are all unique and at provincial conferences each province looks at its own situation.”

Free State’s ANC is known for factionalism and ­in-fighting, which has recently seen a growing anti-Magashule sentiment within the ANC youth and women’s leagues, but Magashule remains strong.

Besani admitted that “factionalism has flared up in the province again”.

The ANC Women’s League, which boasts the biggest membership of the ANC’s leagues in the province,
re-elected Sisi Ntombela – a staunch supporter of Magashule – as its leader.

This is a signal that Magashule’s position is to a large extent safe and could result in Zuma securing Free State.

The province’s membership stands at 79 000, which still needs to be audited.

Limpopo

The provincial conference of the ANC’s Limpopo branch was the most recent.

The winning faction, supporters of re-elected ANC chairperson Cassel Mathale, declared their position in song.

They wanted President Jacob Zuma out and, judging by their cheering, his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe, was the preferred candidate.

But the province seemed to be split in the middle. Just over half of the delegates (53%) supported Mathale.

This indicated that while the leadership might not support him, Zuma at this point could theoretically count on the backing of almost half of the delegates from the province.

The numbers will count, but the lobbying from firebrands like ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema will also play a large role when it comes to Mangaung.

Limpopo was also divided in the run-up to the party’s conference in 2007, with some in the province supporting Zuma and some former president Thabo Mbeki.

Gauteng

Gauteng’s chairperson Paul Mashatile has increasingly played a visible role in brokering peace among warring factions within the ruling party, making him a possible kingmaker despite his province’s size.

This has led to speculation that the man nicknamed the “chairperson of chairpersons” might become the next ANC chair, a position that some of his allies say was proposed by an anti-Zuma faction in the Eastern Cape.

But a pro-Tokyo Sexwale source said it was unlikely that the grouping would back Mashatile for such a position, because both Sexwale and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe come from Gauteng.

That would leave the rest of the provinces with only three positions, while Gauteng would be over-represented.

So far, the country’s economic powerhouse is one of the most stable and united provinces.

A source said ANC branches are expected to start evaluating the performance of Zuma’s leadership collective both in the ANC and government, something that might not work in the incumbent’s favour.

“The good thing is that with this young man (Malema) out of the way, the focus will be sharply on the old man (Zuma) and all his people.

When that happe

ns people will be asking proper questions about government and (party) leadership,” the source said.

Northern Cape

The Northern Cape is one of the smallest ANC provinces with slightly more than 50 000 members.

Its provincial conference is scheduled for September, just three months before the ANC’s national indaba in Mangaung, according to provincial secretary Zamani Saul.

A lot will hinge on the allegiance of Saul, who some say is close to sports minister Fikile Mbalula because of their association through the ANC Youth League.

Embattled ANC chairperson John Block is tipped to make a comeback despite his legal woes, but his loyalties are unlikely to lean towards Zuma.

A provincial executive committee member said the outcome of the Limpopo conference was unlikely to have a bearing on what the province does, but said they would have their own discussion on Limpopo’s clamour for a political solution to Malema’s suspension.

Whatever its decision, the province is not a heavyweight in ANC terms and is therefore unlikely to single-handedly sway things either in Zuma or Motlanthe’s favour.

Mpumalanga

This is another Zuma stronghold and ANC chairperson David Mabuza, who is also the Mpumalanga premier, is determined to ensure things remain that way until the Mangaung conference.

His critics claim he brought the provincial conference forward by six months to February, as a strategy to retain power and then fight on to save Zuma’s presidency in Mangaung.

The early conference date leaves little time for branch general meetings and the ANC may resort to using the same delegates who ensured Mabuza’s allies won the disputed regional conferences held so far, resulting in another easy victory for Mabuza.

ANC national executive committee deployee, public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba, has emerged as Mabuza’s ally and his presence could help to strengthen the premier’s camp.

He oversaw the Gert Sibande regional conference and was accused of allowing it to proceed despite unresolved membership fraud allegations.

Mpumalanga hopes to take 443 delegates to Mangaung, according to provincial secretary Lucky Ndinisa.

Those campaigning against Mabuza say the premier enjoys protection under Zuma, despite widespread governance problems and corruption allegations.

The anti-Mabuza group is working in tandem with the ANC Youth League and its deputy president Ronald Lamola has been traversing the province, giving the campaign some impetus.


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