Ramaphosa’s KZN movements stymied

2017-05-21 05:50

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The KwaZulu-Natal ANC leadership appears to have embarked on a strategy to try to control Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s movements in the province ahead of the party’s December elective conference, while at the same time providing platforms for his potential opponent, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to build a constituency.

It wants the party’s national executive committee to take action against Ramaphosa for meeting a “faction” and to force him to give the committee advance notice of his movements in the province – in effect, preventing him from attending any meeting it has not sanctioned.

Super Zuma, the province’s secretary, has written to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, requesting a meeting to discuss an address given by Ramaphosa in Newcastle several weeks ago.

He had been invited by the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) while campaigning for the ANC at Nquthu ahead of the May 24 by-election in the northern KwaZulu-Natal town.

The move to rein in Ramaphosa after his address to rebel ANC branches at Newcastle in the Emalahleni region, where his supporters have been mobilising around his presidential bid, is aimed at stopping him from building on pockets of support in the province’s ANC regions.

If successful, it will also stop him from linking up with dissident ANC branches, including those which have gone to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to challenge the outcome of the provincial conference which elected the current leadership – and those which backed “ANC independent” candidates in last August’s local government elections.

Increasing tensions

As tensions between the Zuma camp and the ANC’s alliance partners increase, the speaking restrictions may also curtail his ability to address activities organised by labour federation Cosatu, the SA Communist Party and Sanco in the run-up to the party conference in December.

With the ANC Youth League’s national and provincial leadership threatening to boo Ramaphosa in retaliation for the heckling of President Jacob Zuma on May Day, forcing him to submit notice of his movements will also gift them with opportunities to prepare the boo brigade well in advance.

Ramaphosa, who had been campaigning with Zuma, addressed the meeting, which was attended by ousted KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Senzo Mchunu, without briefing Zuma, who had been with him for the entire day.

Ramaphosa subsequently attended a service of the Nazareth Baptist Church at Empangeni with Mchunu, again without the provincial ANC’s go-ahead, further angering them and sparking a discussion at last weekend’s provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting.

An ANC MPL, who may not be identified as he is not mandated to speak to the media, said the provincial leadership was “worried” about Ramaphosa making inroads through working with Mchunu and his supporters, who were narrowly defeated in November 2015.

“Super [Zuma] and others are worried. They can see that Cyril is ready to go for it and will make inroads in KwaZulu-Natal. They know how close the [2015] vote was and what the balance of forces is, so there is no way they can allow Cyril to move around unsupervised,” he said.

“There is no such thing that he must report to the PEC. Show me any ANC regulation or rule that says that. They are simply trying to stop Cyril from campaigning.”

Sanco KwaZulu-Natal secretary Richard Mkhungo defended the invitation to Ramaphosa, saying the meeting was a properly constituted Sanco event.

“This was a cadres forum organised by Sanco. When it came to its attention that the deputy president was around and available, Sanco took the opportunity to invite him and he attended the gathering,” Mkhungo said.

“If this was a genuine complaint, why are they then not talking about Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma running around all over the place?”

Speaking in Nquthu last week, Zuma told City Press that the complaint was a legitimate one.

“The PEC mandated the officials to raise the matter with the secretary-general. We have written to him, requesting a meeting with the officials and raising the matter,” Zuma said.

He denied that the party wanted to block Ramaphosa from campaigning.

“We do not want to prevent him from coming to KwaZulu-Natal, but there is a tradition of the ANC that any leader coming to the province – as we do when we go to the regions – lets us know that you have been invited and will be around,” said Zuma.

“[It is] just that courtesy so that you kill suspicions. Otherwise, if you hide your presence in a particular province and region, it seems as if you are running an agenda that is not known in the organisation.”

Zuma justified the large number of youth league and ANC events hosted for Dlamini-Zuma in her honour, saying they were not “campaign events”.

“If she were campaigning, she would be addressing ANC branches,” Zuma said.

Read more on:    anc  |  nko­sazana dlamini-zuma  |  cyril ramaphosa

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