Cyril scoops Northern Cape

2017-05-14 06:22
ANC Northern Cape Secretary Zamani Saul. (Lerato Sejake, News24)

ANC Northern Cape Secretary Zamani Saul. (Lerato Sejake, News24)

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Ramaphosa backer Zamani Saul’s election to the provincial chair has set the scene for further factional conflict.

ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s faction may have won the Northern Cape conference, but the battle is far from over because those who lost could protest against the outcome at an upcoming national executive committee (NEC) meeting.

It is expected that tomorrow’s meeting of the ANC’s top six will be heated, coming as it does on the back of the highly contested Colesberg conference as well as a provincial Cabinet reshuffle that rattled Luthuli House.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and his deputy, Jessie Duarte, who had intervened to resolve disputes in the Northern Cape, appear to have different views of how contentious matters, such as membership audits, should have been handled in the run-up to the provincial conference.

Provincial secretary Zamani Saul was elected chairperson on Friday after his challenger, Premier Sylvia Lucas, declined nomination.

As a result, at least two reports were expected to emerge from the conference. The first would be written by the ANC’s NEC deployees to the province, who are aligned with the campaign for Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma at the ANC’s national elective conference in December.

The other report would be prepared by ANC national working committee member Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who City Press heard was deployed by Duarte to “observe proceedings at the provincial conference and record a fair reflection”.

Duarte has been linked with the campaign for ANC NEC member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed Zuma, her ex-husband.

“There is going to be a serious fight on Monday among the officials regarding the outcome of the conference and the reshuffle,” said a close aide of Lucas.

“Tina is here listening and she will give [Duarte] a perspective, and on Monday there will be a fight.” “I will report to the officials and the national working committee of the ANC first before we make public statements”.

Lucas’ backers were banking on the matter being referred to the Zuma-dominated ANC NEC for a final decision on the status of the conference.

The ANC is expected to hold an ordinary NEC meeting in the coming weeks. Those backing Lucas complained that the conference was “convened under a very serious cloud of two audit reports signed by Mantashe”.

“It is a critical issue because these reports have an impact on the population of the conference.”

The strategy taken by the Lucas camp was to participate in this week’s three-day provincial conference despite their grievances, with a view to having their objections formally recorded in preparation for a review process.

Saul’s victory almost certainly guarantees Ramaphosa’s nomination by the province as Zuma’s successor at the ANC’s December national elective conference.

At the last conference in Mangaung in 2012, nomination from one province was enough to secure the candidate’s name on the ballot paper.

The Northern Cape membership is the smallest in the ANC, constituting about 5% of the party’s entire membership at the national general council in 2015.

KwaZulu-Natal, which tops the organisation’s membership numbers, is nine times bigger than the Northern Cape.

“It must all begin with you, here in the Northern Cape,” Ramaphosa told conference delegates on Friday. He then rephrased the sentence in Afrikaans.

“You have to provide leadership so that you can restore faith in the leadership of the ANC,” continued Ramaphosa, again repeating in Afrikaans.

His final words were poetic. “You have to lead the way to restore the confidence of members, supporters and leaders. You have this opportunity to act with exemplary conduct, to give a sign to the nation that the ANC listens, lives and leads. You have the historical moment to remind our people that the ANC has humility and integrity, and is dedicated to the service of our nation.”

Since the ANC youth and women’s league conferences in 2015, it had been taken for granted that at least three provinces – Free State, North West and Mpumalanga – would throw their weight behind Dlamini-Zuma as a presidential candidate.

Zuma has become her chief campaigner, but because of divisions among ANC members in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal, at least five undecided provinces – including the Northern Cape – have been counted among those left for Ramaphosa to campaign in if he has presidential ambitions. Other provinces are Limpopo, Gauteng, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

Saul’s election as the Northern Cape’s chairperson gives Ramaphosa a head start in the battle for the swing votes.

But Zuma’s backers still have fight left in them and have already plotted a way to review the outcome of the conference.


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Read more on:    anc  |  cyril ­ramaphosa  |  zamani saul  |  mahikeng  |  politics

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