Do or die for RET as ANC leagues’ race hots up

The Renewals grouping in both the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) and the ANC Veterans’ League, aligned to President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the radical economic transformation (RET), led by, among others, ANC veteran Tony Yengeni – will be at eachothers’ throats, fighting for the soul of the ANC this month.

Former ANCWL president, Bathabile Dlamini, a known political foe of Ramaphosa’s leadership and a supporter of RET sentiments, will be pitted against Sisisi
Tolashe, a strong Ramaphosa ally, while the ANC stalwart, Snuki Zikalala, will lock political horns against a known RET exponent, Yengeni.

The women’s league conference takes place from July 14, while the ANC Veterans League’s is lined up for July 21.

These two conferences give the ANC’s so-called RET faction two last opportunities to push back against the “Operation takes-all” campaign by the Renewals faction aligned with party president Ramaphosa.

In the ANCWL contest, Dlamini is expected to go head-to-head with Ramaphosa loyalist Tolashe, while Yengeni will lock horns with Zikalala in the contest to head the governing party’s veterans.

The Ramaphosa camp has been on a clean sweep, consolidating a winning streak in the ANC conferences that started last year.

The faction started dominating during the provincial conferences of the governing party last year, building up to the national conference, where Ramaphosa secured a second term.

As if the bloodied noses of the RET were not enough, they suffered a great deal this year when Ramaphosa reshuffled his cabinet, which is now dominated by the president’s loyalists.

The RET faction went on to lose two provincial conferences in the Free State and the Western Cape recently.

The ANCYL national congress last weekend further solidified the Renewals’ hold on ANC structures. The ANCWL and ANCVL will be a last-ditch attempt to regain ground.

But it will not be easy for them. Tolashe confirmed to Sunday World that she accepted the leadership nomination after her branch lobbied her to stand.

“I do not have a campaign. I was approached by my branch to make myself available and I agreed. That is all,” said Tolashe.

Dlamini said she had heard of the nominations from the branches and would accept the challenge as a long-time activist for women’s rights, a struggle she believes she has more to offer domestically, on the continent and all over the world.

She is running alongside Weziwe Tikana, a former MEC for Transport in the Eastern Cape, who is going against the Ankoles for the secretary-general position. She fell short, together with the Babalo Madikizela faction, against incumbent provincial chair Oscar Mabuyane last year.

Dlamini and her group have been running a silent social media campaign since April under the #BD23 hashtag. Hers will be an attempt for the second term.

In the veterans League scrap, Zikalala said he would never say no to a call to raise his hand. His competitor, Yengeni, seemingly preferred to play his cards close to his chest as efforts this week to get a comment from his lobbyists went unanswered.

Branch nominations for the ANCVL close tomorrow (July 10), and Yengeni and Zikalala’s names appear to be leading.

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