Johannesburg - Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina says he will resign if Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa wins the ANC’s December election.
Masina is backing Ramaphosa’s rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to succeed President Jacob Zuma in the ANC presidential race.
"I will never serve under Cyril,'' he told News24.
Masina was responding to allegations, made by members of his branch, that he was frustrating the nomination process in a desperate bid to ensure that Dlamini-Zuma was nominated.
Masina’s unprecedented vow to resign was in sharp contrast to the decision of the ANC’s Gauteng provincial executive committee, that has thrown its weight behind the deputy president.
'I can’t lead people who don’t listen to me'
''I will leave. I can never serve under Cyril. I respect him as my older brother, as a leader. [But] I just don’t believe in this group he belongs to. So, he can lead. I will be out,'' he said.
Masina said he would also step down as mayor and regional chair if the majority of branches in his region nominated Ramaphosa instead of Dlamini-Zuma.
''It means I am not a leader. I can’t lead people who don’t listen to me. It’s politics.
''This is not just a presidential race, it’s politics,'' he said.
Ekurhuleni has been labelled the ''rebel'' region of the province.
Masina, a staunch Zuma supporter, has always been at odds with the current Gauteng leadership, that previously called for the president to step down, following the Nkandla saga and other scandals.
He denied that he was trying to frustrate the nomination process at his branch.
However, three branch members told News24 that the branch nomination meeting on Sunday ''collapsed'' because Dlamini-Zuma supporters did not have the numbers.
Read more here: Masina's branch in Ekurhuleni divided over #CR17
Masina said he did not attend the meeting on Sunday because he was out of the country.
He sent images of his boarding passes to prove that he had travelled to Mozambique on Friday and returned on Monday.
In August, Masina announced that Ekurhuleni would support Dlamini-Zuma.
His undertaking sparked a revolt from within as unhappy ANC members marched to the ANC regional offices in protest. They accused him and some members of his regional executive of making a unilateral undertaking.
Masina cast aspersions on Ramaphosa, insinuating that he was a white people’s candidate.
''If Nkosazana loses, white people will lead SA. I will not be part of it. I will not be mayor of Ekurhuleni, but I will leave the ANC in power,'' he said.
He would not expand on his comments, but maintained that he would step down if Ramaphosa won.
Masina also launched a scathing attack on ANC Gauteng provincial spokesperson Nkenke Kekana.
He became emotional when he spoke about Kekana, and fired off expletives: ''I don’t like Nkenke. He is fake and not ANC...report it as such, I don’t give a fuck…”
''I will never leave the ANC. I will die in the ANC, but I will never support an ANC that is corrupt,'' he said. ''I am not part of that shit. If Nkosazana doesn’t win, I am out.''
The ANC in the province would not be drawn to comment on Masina's remarks.
Masina said he hoped the Gauteng leadership would leave him to remain an ordinary member of the ANC and not expel him from the party, like Julius Malema, because he would be frustrated outside the ANC and had no capacity to start his own party.
Ekurhuleni is expected to hold an elective regional conference next year. He is expected to face a difficult time, with the number of senior leaders said to be planning to oust him.
The region boasts a number of influential ANC leaders, including the likes of Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, former mayor and senior ANC MP Mondli Gungubele, national secretary General Gwede Mantashe and NEC member Enoch Godongwana.
Masina became mayor in 2016, after the ANC lost the metro, but struck a deal with the African Independent Congress to form a coalition government.
In exchange, the ANC would allow for Matatiele to be incorporated back into KwaZulu-Natal.