eThekwini region want Ramaphosa as deputy president

2012-11-19 00:00

THE ANC’s biggest region, eThekwini, wants businessman Cyril Ramaphosa to become deputy president because he has leadership qualities that can give strategic direction to the ruling party.

“Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa was secretary-general of the ANC, so he has shown good qualities of leadership and has remained a national executive committee member.

“He also has a strong background of leadership in trade unions,” regional chairman Sibongiseni Dhlomo told a press conference on Saturday, after the region’s nomination conference ahead of the ANC’s Mangaung meeting.

Ramaphosa was selected to replace current deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, amid reports that the ANC in Limpopo, the ANC Youth League and others want the latter to challenge President Jacob Zuma in Mangaung.

The eThekwini region endorsed Zuma for a second term as president; and for secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and national chairperson Baleka Mbete to be retained in their posts.

It also selected Zweli Mkhize and Jessie Duarte to replace treasurer Matthews Phosa and deputy secretary-general Thandi Modise respectively.

Regional secretary Bheki Ntshangase yesterday said they overlooked Motlanthe because they wanted to prepare and not be caught off guard at the last minute if he challenges Zuma.

“If he stands for the presidency, we will have our deputy president candidate in Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We don’t want a situation where we are to run around looking for a replacement,” he said.

Ramaphosa’s nomination comes in the wake of reports that he authored an e-mail on the eve of the Marikana killings, calling for action against the striking Lonmin miners.

Advocate Dali Mpofu told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the shooting of an e-mail in which Ramaphosa condemned the miners’ protests, describing them as criminal acts and calling for “concomitant action”.

Ramaphosa, a non-executive director of Lonmin, has since offered to testify before the commission.

He recently apologised on national radio for bidding R18 million for a buffalo and its calf while fellow South Africans lived in poverty.

Ntshangase said they had looked beyond his involvement in mining and that he had not done anything physically in the Marikana shooting.

“We looked at him as the NEC’s longest serving member, a person we can rely on. An organisation can’t go anywhere if we look at an individual at a personal level and then judge him,” Ntshangase said.

He, however, said the eThekwini region was not rigid on its leadership preferences, saying it was open to lobbying.

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