Cyril Ramaphosa camp in KZN fights back

2017-10-09 13:52
Sthembiso Mshengu, who has become the face of the Ramaphosa campaign in the province.

Sthembiso Mshengu, who has become the face of the Ramaphosa campaign in the province. (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - The Cyril Ramaphosa camp in Kwa­Zulu-Natal claims it is enjoying a groundswell of support as the ANC presidential hopeful prepares to visit the province this week.

This is in spite of suggestions that Ramaphosa’s supporters have recently been on the back foot in the province. His backers have in recent days stepped up their mobilisation activities across the province’s branches.

 “It is about rescuing the ANC — more and more people in the province are beginning to take responsibility and are doing whatever is necessary to salvage our organisation,” said Sthembiso Mshengu, a former ANCYL leader who is now prominent in the Ramaphosa campaign.

Ramaphosa is scheduled to speak at an event in Imbali on Saturday.

Mshengu, speaking exclusively to The Witness, said the group’s leaders were now convinced more than ever that a significant number of ANC members in the province viewed Ramaphosa as the right person to lead the ruling party. 

“Unlike in previous months, thousands of ANC members in the province are now speaking out against the manner in which the organisation is being run — they are tired of a leadership that refuses to look into their grievances,” he said.

PEC judgment

Ramaphosa’s backers scored a major victory following last month’s Pietermaritzburg high court judgment nullifying the 2015 ANC provincial leadership elections. The court found the provincial executive committee (PEC), which is close to President Jacob Zuma and backs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over the presidential reins, had been illegitimately elected.

However, celebrations by the pro-Ramaphosa grouping were short-lived when the “illegitimate” PEC refused to vacate office. “To us the conduct of the current PEC confirms what we have been saying all along when it comes to issues of principle and values — the correct thing, which the PEC should have done, was to step down immediately after the court judgment. 

“However, they did not, instead, they called a press briefing where they boasted that they were not going anywhere. This just goes to tell you the extent to which some of the leaders in our movement have become morally bankrupt,” Mshengu said.

There have been suggestions that the pro-Zuma provincial leadership has made KZN a no-go area for Ramaphosa. It previously accused him of visiting the province without informing it.

“Our position on that one is very clear: we will not allow a situation where KZN is turned into a no-go area for any of our leaders, including Ramaphosa. No one will stop Ramaphosa from visiting KZN, and ... he will be visiting the province in the next few days,” Mshengu said.

Speculation

There has been speculation that Zuma supporters in the National Executive Comittee (NEC) opposed to the removal of the PEC as they feared the move could weaken Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign in the province.

Last week’s decision by the PEC to appeal the court judgment before the NEC had taken a resolution on the matter was seen as a move by the Zuma camp to keep the ANC provincial leadership in power, at least until the December national conference. “The ANC national leadership has told us that they are dealing with the matter around the PEC and will come back to us. But whatever decision the national leadership makes, we do not think that the Ramaphosa campaign would be affected in any way,” Mshengu said. 

“We are aware that there is a danger of the manipulation of processes in KZN leading up to the national conference, but what is important is that Ramaphosa is not counting on KZN alone — there are many other provinces supporting him,” Mshengu added.

Other presidential candidates include Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, ANC treasurer- general Zweli Mkhize and former ANC presidential hopeful and Mpumalanga premier, Mathews Phosa.

ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma said expecting the PEC to step down despite it having appealed, was a “wrong” interpretation of the law.

“If you appeal it means that the judgment is suspended pending the outcome of the appeal,” he said.

Read more on:    anc  |  cyril rama­phosa  |  pietermaritzburg  |  politics  |  anc leadership race

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