Mpumalanga torn between three presidential candidates

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Mpumalanga ANC deputy secretary and social development MEC Lindiwe Ntshalintshali. Photo: Supplied
Mpumalanga ANC deputy secretary and social development MEC Lindiwe Ntshalintshali. Photo: Supplied


Mpumalanga ANC deputy secretary and social development MEC Lindiwe Ntshalintshali could be a second contender from the province for a top six position in the upcoming ANC national conference in December.

Ntshalintshali’s name has been touted to contest the position of treasurer-general. City Press understands that this is the view of KwaZulu-Natal branches, particularly those that support former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize to be the next president.

Ntshalintshali joins Deputy President David Mabuza, who has now entered the race to challenge President Cyril Ramaphosa after his branch, Ward 45 in Barberton, nominated him. She said that she was aware that certain branches raised her name and that flyers about her have been in circulation.

Asked if she would stand, Ntshalintshali said:

It depends on nominations from branches and provincial engagements [and] if it’s the will of the branches, [I] will accept. This shocked me when I was approached by comrades.

READ: Mkhize kick-starts epic battle against Ramaphosa 

Ntshalintshali added that she had already accepted that delegates could nominate her for election as an additional member in the national executive committee following advice from the province to move nationally, as she was already serving for a third term as a provincial executive committee member.

These developments indicate that Mpumalanga was now torn between three presidential delegates: Ramaphosa, Mabuza and Mkhize. Ramaphosa is the choice and favourite of the Mpumalanga PEC. Even though that is the case, Ntshalintshali and provincial treasurer Mandla Msibi have given hints they were not toeing that line.

They have both appeared to be amenable to Mabuza and have been overtly critical of the step-aside rule, which recently affected Msibi as he faced double murder and attempted murder charges that were provisionally withdrawn last month.

It is now clear that Ntshalintshali is supporting a Mkhize presidency following previous speculations that she was vouching for the Rapid Economic Transformation (RET) faction due to her closeness to suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule.

READ: Mabuza's hopes for support hinge on Msibi

Ntshalintshali is one of the most powerful women ANC leaders in Mpumalanga.

She is the only woman in the ANC’s Mpumalanga top five and her name was mentioned many times to take over as the next and first Mpumalanga woman premier before the ANC opted for Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane in 2018.

Ntshalintshali is a former mayor of the Emalahleni Local Municipality.

The divisions in Mpumalanga do not work in Mabuza’s favour, who, for the first time, is contesting with the province being fragmented. Mabuza was a kingmaker in the 2017 conference when he used his province’s votes to pull the rug under the feet of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s faction, which was certain of Mpumalanga’s support.

The Mpumalanga vote boosted Ramaphosa instead.

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