Factional, divisive. No unity in race for Mpumalanga ANC chair position

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David Mabuza after the results of the election are announced at the ANC national conference in December 2017. Picture: Elizabeth Sejake/Rapport
David Mabuza after the results of the election are announced at the ANC national conference in December 2017. Picture: Elizabeth Sejake/Rapport

Contenders for ANC deputy president David Mabuza’s Mpumalanga position have abandoned his efforts for unity and have been campaigning in a factional and divisive manner.

They have allowed a non-government organisation, the Practical Radical Economic Transformation (Pret), to fill the void of trying to forge unity before the provincial general council on April 7 that will elect Mabuza’s successor as Mpumalanga ANC chairperson.

Mabuza preached unity ahead of the ANC elective conference at Nasrec last month and slammed the divisive tendency of campaigning on slates. He had hoped that new leaders would be elected by a consensus of all delegates, but most provinces did not buy into the proposal. Mabuza also campaigned for branches not to nominate any names of candidates for the conference but write unity on the forms.

The composition of the top six and national working committee positions, however, ended up comprising the allies of both ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and national executive committee member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Mabuza was elected as party deputy president which means he has vacated his position as Mpumalanga chairperson that he held for nine years. He is expected to resign as premier after the provincial general council and work fulltime at Luthuli House.

At least one Mpumalanga faction has released its slate of preferred candidates as build-up to the provincial general council. This faction is, however, comprising of Mabuza’s allies.

The new slate has reduced the number of contenders for the chairpersonship from 10 to six as it consolidates names of individuals who were expected to contest against each other.

It puts current provincial secretary, Mandla Ndlovu, as a candidate for chairperson. Nkangala regional chairperson and Human Settlements MEC, Speedy Mashilo, is listed as deputy chairperson. This position was left vacant by Violet Siwela who was elected into the national executive committee.

Safety and security MEC, Pat Ngomane, is listed as provincial secretary while Sasekani Manzini (public works MEC) has withdrawn from the chairpersonship race to retain her position in the provincial executive committee.

Ndlovu – who is currently acting chairperson – told City Press that he was unaware that his name had been proposed. He however said that delegates might force contenders to unite as they did in the national conference.

“The delegates will tell us what must happen as they did at the national conference where both Ramaphosa’s and Dlamini-Zuma’s supporters were elected into the top six and national executive committee,” he said.

Contender, Peter Nyoni, said he was surprised that there was a slate even though Mabuza had discouraged such tendencies.

“Mabuza stood up and said we must do away with slate politics. I wouldn’t want to believe that he knows about that list. I still maintain that it’s within the rights of branches to raise whomever they want,” Nyoni said.

Pret has organised a unity rally scheduled for February 3. Pret president, Themba Sigudla, said comrades who campaigned for Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma had been invited.

“These factions must unite and work together. We’ll support leaders who can unite the ANC,” Sigudla said.

Former provincial secretary enters the race

Former Mpumalanga ANC secretary, Lucky Ndinisa, is reportedly going to join the contest for the chairpersonship. Ndinisa served as secretary during Mabuza two terms as chairperson from 2008 to 2016.

Ndinisa’s branch in Belfast is set to lobby him on Sunday. Ndinisa’s name leaves the contest to six contenders – Ndlovu, Nyoni, Fish Mahlalela (member of Parliament and provincial executive committee), David Dube (provincial legislature member and former ANC deputy chairperson), Charles Makola (former provincial ANC deputy chairperson).

The could be discussions among the remaining contenders towards the provincial general council.

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