Deputy President David Mabuza has dispelled rumours that he might be gunning for the ANC presidency in December and has affirmed his support for President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mabuza, who was in Phola near Hazyview in Mpumalanga during the weekend to bury his aunt, told ANC supporters that he and Ramaphosa were united.
The deputy president had been, true to his character of keeping things close to his chest, quiet about his ambitions as the race for the ANC’s top six positions hots up.
Most provinces have rallied behind Ramaphosa’s bid for a second term but none have announced support for Mabuza to retain his current position or move up one notch.
Instead, there had been indications that the deputy presidency was there for the taking with the names of ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile and Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola being thrown in the hat.
“President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa is around. If you say this (that he must not be re-elected), you’re saying the same must happen to me.
“Me and the president walk together. You flush me, you flush both of us. I’m saying to you, wait for the right time and talk at your branches.”
In Mpumalanga, Mabuza appears to have lost his huge support among structures. His supporters and loyalists have lost elections in the recent provincial and regional conferences – spelling the end of an era of him controlling the province since 2008.
New Mpumalanga ANC chairperson Mandla Ndlovu and Mabuza have not been getting along lately. Ndlovu won the provincial conference against Mabuza’s preferred candidate, former provincial secretary Lucky Ndinisa.
Most of Mabuza’s supporters are fighting on the fringes of the provincial and regional executive committees to reclaim the power they have lost.
A few weeks ago, Mabuza’s ally Ngrayi Ngwenya boldly announced that Mabuza would be president. Ngwenya is a former ANC Ehlanzeni regional chairperson who is currently facing a five-year suspension after he was found guilty of charges relating to his support for former president Jacob Zuma when he was convicted of contempt of court.
Mabuza warned that the ANC’s position as a governing party was facing a threat in the 2024 general elections if disunity continued to exist. He said:
“But if you continue being divided, we will go to the grave.”