Heir to the throne: Motshekgas endorse Ramaphosa

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Teaming up: Former ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in Ivory Park, Midrand, this week (Leon Sadiki, City Press)
Teaming up: Former ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in Ivory Park, Midrand, this week (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

The once staunch Zuma supporters, the Motshekgas, now openly endorse Ramaphosa.

ANC national executive committee member and Education Minister Angie Motshekga has in effect endorsed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as a “credible leader” who must take over the presidency, saying the structure that she belongs to was ready to nominate him.

Her husband and chair of the ANC’s constitutional committee, Mathole Motshekga, slated “divisive elements” that were causing confusion in the ANC about Ramaphosa being the rightful “heir to the throne”.

Ramaphosa visited the ANC’s zone 15 in Greater Johannesburg, where the Motshekgas are members, on Friday night.

The basic education minister assured Ramaphosa that he had come to the right place if he wanted coherency.

“We are ready for nomination. We are right on the line and we will go to conference with delegates that won’t be bought,” she said, her words reverberating through a hall in Ivory Park packed with ANC members.

“We are not pronouncing now because we are disciplined. The ANC here leads. Umuntu wethu u-DP, siyamthanda [The deputy president is our person and we love him].”

With these words, Ramaphosa’s campaign shifted into another gear. He encouraged branches to make their presence felt when the ANC elects new leaders, as the party’s destiny was in their hands.

A cheerful Ramaphosa was there to launch “OR Tambo Fridays” aimed at reinvigorating the weakened ANC, marred by divisions right up to the top six. The governing party further faces the threat of losing its grip on power in the 2019 elections.

Ramaphosa also appears to have support within the regional structure of the ANC in Johannesburg.

Its regional secretary Dada Morero, in welcoming Ramaphosa, told him he needed to free his diary from international travels so that he can visit other structures in Johannesburg.

“There will be a lot of OR Tambo Fridays that the deputy president must launch. So, he must avail himself. He will have a lot of work,” Morero said.

Ramaphosa used the event to repeatedly urge branches to elect credible leaders at the ANC’s 54th elective conference in December.

“You are going to be electing a leadership that will take the movement forward. What a wonderful position that you have as branches of the ANC. This is where you go to the conference and reclaim the ANC of OR Tambo,” he roared.

As chair of the ANC’s constitutional committee, Mathole Motshekga told City Press his was an endorsement of the culture and traditions that point to Ramaphosa as the “heir to the throne”.

He said divisive elements with scant respect for the ANC were bringing confusion to the party.

“If we all just agreed that the process elevates that person as a natural successor. He was even a preferred candidate of former president Nelson Mandela. Who are we to think that Mandela was mad for [having] that preference?

“The pecking order, unwritten as it is, says that the deputy succeeds the president unless there are grounds that disqualify him. We have a deputy that has a track record, who in terms of the culture and traditions should ascend. That will be the most unifying approach.”

Back at the event, he chanted: “Long live, Ramaphosa, long live,” with much vigour, clenched
fist and all.

The Motshekgas were once close to President Jacob Zuma before recently turning against him.

ANC veteran Reverend Frank Chikane was among those present.

Chikane is among a group of veterans who publicly criticised Zuma and has supported his axing.

Ramaphosa said, come December, the ANC must regain its position as leader of society.

“It is only then that the ANC can say we want radical economic transformation. Yamampela, not yomkokotelo [A real one, not a fake one],” he emphasised.

He warned that the ANC might be punished [at the polls] in 2019 if it doesn’t fix its house.

“The ANC must listen to what the people are saying. If we don’t listen, then we will lose. In 2016, many people didn’t vote for us, they stayed away; they said, we are going to teach you a lesson because we see you acting in a corrupt manner, wasting resources and stealing. And they did punish us. Now we must reverse that. Comrades, we have heard. We don’t want our people to punish us any more.”

He weighed in on “the disease” of heckling and booing, saying people must be allowed to express themselves.

Ramaphosa said he was still waiting for the day when he would be booed.

This was in reference to ANC Youth League president Collen Maine’s threat that he would boo Ramaphosa at rallies and ANC meetings, following last week’s booing of Zuma at the Cosatu May Day rally in the Free State.

“I have been told that every meeting I go to I will be booed and heckled; I am waiting. But I know I’m not going to get it from here. If comrades have grievances, they must be able to create space and talk about them.”

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