Unity is key: Mabuza hints at NEC ambition

David Mabuza. Picture: Buks Viljoen
David Mabuza. Picture: Buks Viljoen

Unity of the Mpumalanga ANC and its resources appear to be the ticket premier David Mabuza is using for his ambition to be elected to the ANC’s national office.

Mabuza said during a fundraising gala dinner in Mbombela last night that if he had his way ANC leaders would not contest each other in the December national conference.

He also dropped a hint confirming that he wanted to be in the national executive committee.

The gala dinner preceded the party’s 105 birthday celebration scheduled to take place in Mbombela stadium today.

ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete will give the keynote address.

“As Mpumalanga we feel that we’re stable under these difficult circumstances confronting our organisation. We forge unity in our ranks and do it practically,” Mabuza said.

Mabuza used the opportunity to introduce his latest catch – former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola.

Lamola, who was Mabuza’s spokesperson, had been participating in the party’s Gauteng structures after the provincial executive committee withdrew his branch membership in the Bohlabelo region following his fallout with Mabuza.

Mabuza frustrated Lamola’s ambition to succeed Julius Malema as ANCYL president and instead pushed Desmond Moela to deputise Collen Maine.

Lamola has been campaigning vigorously for President Jacob Zuma to step down.

Mabuza is Zuma’s staunchest supporter – and together with Free State premier Ace Magashule and North West premier Supra Mahumapelo – they are alleged to be leading the so-called “Premier League”.

KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala is also alleged to be part of this group, which supports the Zuma camp.

“I had a father to son talk with (Lamola) and we agreed that he must come back home. I’m the happiest chairperson because Mpumalanga is the best,” Mabuza said.

The meeting between Mabuza and Lamola last week was facilitated by businessman Robert Gumede.

Gumede is Mabuza’s personal friend and is allegedly bankrolling his campaign.

“If everything could go according to my wish, we would not contest one another in our conference. The problem is we’re not angels,” Mabuza said.

Mabuza boasted that Mpumalanga used its resources to assist other provinces to campaign.

The province has a fleet of more than 100 branded vehicles.

“When the NEC says Mpumalanga do this, we do it without question. We bring our cats and dogs to campaign. When the NEC says bring 10 000 people to Orlando Stadium, we bring 14 000,” he said.

“Mpumalanga ANC, stay the same even when we’re no longer here,” Mabuza said.

This statement indicates that he is preparing for national office.

Mabuza is alleged to be talking to both the Zuma camp and deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s camp to stand as deputy president.

The Zuma camp wants African Union chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to be president.

The ANCYL, it is believed, could announce Mabuza as a surprise presidential candidate.

2017 conference should cement unity

Mbete said the 2017 conference should cement the ANC’s unity.

“Come 2019, it should not happen that the DA wins the elections. What is important is that the ANC must be healed. The ANC is bruised,” Mbete said.

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