Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidential bid got a boost yesterday when Gauteng ANC chair Paul Mashatile endorsed him as a leader who will instil confidence and protect the country from all forms of capture.
Mashatile was speaking at the West Rand regional general council, where he also said the province wanted a consensus in the election of leaders at the ANC December conference and would not discriminate against anyone who met the criteria.
He revealed that, as part of engaging with other provinces, he had met with ANC chair David Mabuza, who expressed interest in working together.
“He came to me and said this thing of factions is no longer working.
"He said we should find a way to work together, and that’s what we are doing,” he told delegates at the conference.
The region was the second to endorse Ramaphosa after the Northern Cape.
In rooting for Ramaphosa, Mashatile emphasised that the ANC did not need cowards who would put the country up for sale, but people who would instil confidence and have the interests of South Africans at heart.
He said it was common cause for the deputy to succeed the president, as had been the case historically in the ANC.
Mashatile mentioned, among other things, that a precedent had been set regarding succession and used as an example how the ANC’s longest-serving president for 30 years, OR Tambo, succeeded former ANC president Albert Luthuli, and added that President Jacob Zuma took over from former president Thabo Mbeki.
“I know that it is not policy, but we can say that it’s history,” he said to loud applause.
Mashatile raised concerns about how the ANC had weakened under Zuma because it arrogantly did not listen to its people, and he said delegates had to ensure it elected a leadership collective with integrity.
“Our people will never abandon the ANC if we do the right thing. But they cannot continue to support us if we deviate. It’s important that our message very clear that we will get the ANC back onto its right path.
“We need to win the confidence of our people, and that is something that we will emphasise,” he said.
"Take a stand"
Mashatile said he was glad that the ANC national executive committee had opened up the succession debate because some people had begun campaigning when the time was not right.
He warned that no compromised leaders or those who were intent on enriching themselves would be considered. He urged the province to be united, saying people were tired of waking up to scandals about state capture.
There will still be a series of regional and provincial general councils ahead of the ANC’s main policy conference at the end of this month, including in the Northern Cape and the Free State.
ANC Northern Cape chair Zamani Saul yesterday delivered his political overview to delegates at the special provincial general council.
He also unforgiving in his criticism of the ANC, saying South Africans expected the intellectual people in the ANC to rescue it from the problems it faced.
He said the ANC was on the brink of a precipice and had lost its moral compass, and “has conceded moral leadership of our country to forces that are hostile to our historic mission”.
He said that, almost every week, there were new revelations that implicated senior leaders of the ANC in the parasitic capitalist network of the Gupta family.
“In the face of such an assault on our movement, there can be no self-respecting member or leader of the ANC who can assume a position of neutrality.
"We are called upon to take a stand to defend our movement and leaders from state capture.”
Meanwhile, ANC Free State chair Ace Magashule, a close Zuma ally, did not hesitate to defend Zuma during the Free State conference, telling delegates to respect ANC leaders.
He said he had expected Ramaphosa to attend the gathering yesterday.
He said Ramaphosa would have been welcomed like any other ANC leader, in what appeared to be a suggestion that the deputy president would not have been booed, as has perviously been threatened.
“We elected him in 2012 when many others did not want him to be deputy president. At that time, some people said he was part of monopoly capital.
"Today, they make as if we do not want him. Leadership is elected.”
However, he was quick to point out that there was no history of a deputy president taking over from the president, adding that branches would make that decision.