Ironic twist in contest for ANC deputy president position

2012-12-18 00:00

THE senior ANC leaders who were once accused of plotting against former president Thabo Mbeki have found themselves in a three-way contest for party deputy president.

Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, businessman Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa are the contenders, after Kgalema Motlanthe declined the secondary nomination yesterday.

Motlanthe is squaring up against President Jacob Zuma for the position of party leadership only.

However, judging from the roar of support at the ANC conference in Mangaung, Ramaphosa, with Zuma as his president, is the frontrunner.

Political analyst Sakhela ­Buhlungu was amused by the irony of it all.

“Here we have the three musketeers contesting one another from two different sides. Tokyo and Mathews on the one side and Cyril on the other,” he said.

Buhlungu said what he did not understand was why Sexwale and Phosa were opposing each other, as they were splitting the vote.

The nominations were announced and finalised after the conference was locked in debate over the delegations from the Free State and North West — where members took the ANC to court.

Sources said the so-called Forces of Change had asked that the delegations from these provinces not be allowed to participate, in line with last week’s Constitutional Court ruling.

However, the plenary conference decided that they should participate, as ordinary branch members were not affected by the court judgment.

In other nominations, four candidates were nominated for the position of national chairperson. Thenjiwe Mtintso, South Africa’s ambassador to Italy, had earlier declined the nomination. This left incumbent Baleka Mbete, Free State Premier Ace Magashule and North West Premier Thandi Modise to stand for the position. Magashule withdrew his nomination from the conference floor.

As expected, incumbent Gwede Mantashe and his challenger, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, were nominated for the position of secretary-general.

Five candidates were nominated for the position of deputy. Mbalula, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule and Mtintso had previously withdrawn from the contest.

Echoing Motlanthe, Modise declined her secondary nomination, leaving Jessie Duarte uncontested.

KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize will be up against Arts and Culture Minister Paul Matshatile, a key member of the Forces for Change lobby, for the position of treasurer-general.

When the election officer, Thobile Thomas, asked if any of the candidates wanted to withdraw from the treasurer-general race, Mashatile stepped up to the microphone.

However, Sexwale stood up and said: “I can’t count the money. I withdraw my nomination.”

Mashatile sat down and his name remained on the nomination list.

Results are expected to be released today.

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