The scramble for the ANC’s public posts reached fever pitch this past weekend as provinces hosted list conferences to determine potential candidates for executive and legislature seats, including at national level.
Former president Jacob Zuma refuses to go away as he got the nod from Free State ANC branches to return to Parliament as an MP. Some Free State ANC branches put Zuma’s name on the province’s list of 200 candidates for the National Assembly, City Press learnt.
The endorsement comes on the back of a similar lobby in parts of Mpumalanga where ANC branch members punted Zuma high up on the list to Parliament in a move seen as defiant to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
However, pro-Ramaphosa branches in the Free State pushed for him in the top spot, followed by his deputy David Mabuza.
The provincial list conferences are the precursor to the national list conference, after which the ANC will entertain disputes for a short period and then submit the final list of candidates to the electoral commission ahead of the general elections next year.
The preliminary nominations could change drastically after the weekend and even further after the national list conference.
Nominated by some branches are national executive committee (NEC) members Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Gwede Mantashe.
Ike Moroe, an ANC veteran and convener of the anti-provincial executive committee of the party in the Free State, confirmed yesterday that several branches had nominated Zuma.
“It has happened. One believes this is meant to be disruptive of the ANC process of unity and renewal. The former president has a lot of controversies around him. The state that the ANC finds itself in today can be directly traced back to him and his supporters,” Moroe told City Press. He said Zuma’s nomination was driven by the agenda to divide the ANC.
“It is bogus branches which participated during that process. This means the ANC is a shell that does not exist properly,” he said.
ANC Free State deputy chairperson William Bulwane has since condemned the move by some branches not to nominate Ramaphosa as the presidential candidate.
“Our expectation is that all branches had nominated Ramaphosa as the presidential candidate,” Bulwane said.
He said it would be a violation of the ANC constitution if branches had not nominated Ramaphosa.
“It would be wrong. It would affect the ANC badly.” Bulwane said the ANC was not aware that some branches had nominated Zuma.
Meanwhile, two lists of preferred candidates for the provincial legislature are doing the rounds in the Free State. One list has MEC for education Tate Makgoe, an ally of Ramaphosa, appearing first on the province’s legislature list.
The pro-Magashule list has ANC deputy provincial secretary Mamiki Qabathi as number one on the provincial legislature list. ANC provincial chairperson Sam Mashinini is second and Premier Sisi Ntombela is fourth.
Former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane is number 26 on the pro-Magashule list.
In Zuma’s home in KwaZulu-Natal, branches appeared to have opted out of a campaign to put Zuma high up on the list. An insider said there was no point in carrying out the plan as Zuma himself had rubbished it, saying he was not interested.
Zuma has been on the ground criss-crossing the province encouraging all and sundry to throw their weight behind the ANC at the polls next year. He recently told supporters on KwaZulu-Natal’s lower south coast not to punish the ANC if they had personal issues with him.
City Press understands that provincial leaders will have to manage a bid to ice out Mabuza, who is still considered enemy number one in the province after he blindsided it and switched allegiance in last year’s elective conference at Nasrec.
Mabuza is yet to participate in big political programmes in the province since he was elected. Provincial leaders want to drive home the message to supporters that Mabuza should not be embarrassed when he goes to the province for the January 8 statement next year.
Also hitting the ground running is NEC member Malusi Gigaba who was recently strong-armed into relinquishing his position in Cabinet. Gigaba is set to make a comeback on the list process but insiders have warned him not to expect to feature as high up as he did previously.
North West Premier Job Mokgoro has a tough decision: to go back into retirement or remain in the public service for much longer as 52 ANC branches in the province nominated him in the top 20 leaders they preferred to serve in the provincial legislature after the elections. Mokgoro was number 18 on the list.
The ANC branches in the province are also split on whether former North West premier and ANC provincial chairperson Supra Mahumapelo should remain in the province or go to Parliament.
He is fourth on the preliminary province to national list, with 57 branch nominations. But more branches, 70, preferred him on the provincial legislature list.
Chances are that Mahumapelo’s critics would push for him to relocate to Cape Town.
Former ANC Youth League deputy secretary and now coordinator of the provincial task team Kenetswe Mosenogi will be emboldened going to the list conference as she tops the provincial legislature list with 109 branch nominations, making her a serious contender for the premier candidate.
Mosenogi is followed by new local government and human settlements MEC Motlalepula Rosho, considered to be a senior female figure in the province. Completing the top three women candidates is the new rural, environment and agricultural development MEC Desbo Mohono.
The male candidate leading with branch nominations is SA Communist Party (SACP) leader Mmoloki Cwaile (85 branch nominations), followed by Mahumapelo’s former deputy chairperson Sello Lehari and former chairperson Nono Maloyi.
More than 800 names could not muster the required threshold of 10 branch nominations, including one of Mahumapelo’s fierce critics, Thato Magogodi, who appears on the preliminary list with seven branch nominations for the provincial legislature and three nominations for Parliament.
In Gauteng, Premier David Makhura seems to be guaranteed a comeback but insiders said economic development MEC Lebogang Maile was working the ground with a view to cause an upset. The two appear first and fifth on the preliminary provincial legislature list, with 252 and 169 nominations, respectively.
However, said an insider, Makhura had been warned that he should start to assert his authority as the provincial chairperson or he would lose his backers, who feel under attack from the provincial executive committee dominated by the Maile camp.
Among the decisions Makhura was being pushed to make is to reshuffle his provincial cabinet by removing local government and human settlement MEC Uhuru Moiloa and replace him with provincial ANC deputy secretary Nomantu Ralehoko.
Ralehoko is the deputy speaker in the legislature and the push is for Moiloa to return to the post, which he occupied before becoming an MEC.
Ralehoko also leads the women candidates in terms of nominations, followed by Gauteng ANC spokesperson Tasneem Motara.
In the overall preliminary list Ralehoko is third after deputy provincial chairperson and education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
The ANC in Northern Cape avoided a stumbling block to the provincial list conference on Friday when the Kimberley High Court dismissed an application to block the event.
ANC provincial chairperson Zamani Saul said the party was vindicated, adding that the Nasrec national conference last year was clear that members should desist from taking the ANC to court.
“We maintain that the courts should never be used to fight against any structure of the ANC, but rather we should exhaust all ANC processes.”
The provincial list conference was scheduled to be held yesterday in Upington.
Saul topped the preliminary nominations list with 121 branch nominations, followed by provincial ANC deputy secretary Maruping Lekwene and provincial health MEC Fufe Makatong.
The list is topped by acting chairperson in the province Khaya Magaxa who is also a member of the SACP’s central committee.
Number two on the list is former deputy minister of communications Thandi Mahambehlala, who was booted from that position in Ramaphosa’s first Cabinet reshuffle earlier this year.
The SACP in the Western Cape is buoyant over what it claims to be a victory over ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs.
The party had written to the ANC at the onset of the list processes complaining about the role of Jacobs on the list committee, saying he had been implicated in the manipulation of the list processes during the 2016 local government elections.
The SACP sought to have him removed from the provincial list committee.
SACP provincial secretary Benson Ngqentsu told City Press that Jacobs had recused himself and bowed to its demands.
“The SACP in the Western Cape warmly welcomed reports that Faiez should step down as provincial list committee convener,” Ngqentsu said.
Jacobs had previously denied accusations against him. He appears at number 24 on the Western Cape’s province to national draft list.