With the battle for the leadership of ANC Eastern Cape gone in favour of President Cyril Ramaphosa and his bid for second term, he and re-elected provincial chairperson Oscar Mabuyane have embarked on a task to win over the wounded faction that lost the provincial conference at the weekend.
The two want to send a strong Eastern Cape delegation when the ruling party holds its national elective conference in December.
Mabuyane’s slate emerged victorious from a highly contested ANC Eastern Cape conference against the slate that had put forward Babalo Madikizela as its preferred candidate to lead the province. Mabuyane received 812 votes against Madikizela’s 662 votes.
Although both Madikizela and Mabuyane said they would support Ramaphosa for the second term, there were doubts that a win for Madikizela guaranteed Ramaphosa a majority support of the province due to him being associated with Zweli Mkhize’s campaign.
Although he constantly denied being associated with Mkhize, there was a presence of his lobbyists in East London as the ANC provincial conference reached a deadlock for two days over the adoption of credentials.
Ramaphosa and his closest ally Mabuyane sang from the same hymn when extending the olive branch to the losing slate, with promises that they would not be purged in government, municipalities, and in party branches.
Ramaphosa thanked the losing top-five contestants for the manner in which they conducted themselves in accepting defeat.
They include Madikizela, Xolile Nkompela who lost deputy chairmanship against Mlungisi Mvoko, Teris Ntuthu who lost provincial sectretariat against Lulama Ngcukayitobi, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe who lost against Helen Sauls-August for deputy secretary position, and Andile Lungisa who lost a vacant provincial treasurer position that had been vacated by Madikizela to newcomer Zolile Williams.
Ramaphosa said: “That they have not succeeded does not mean that they have lost. That they were not finally elected does not mean they are not leaders in the African National Congress.
“I want to say to them, comrade Madikizela, comrade Nkompela, comrade Ntutu, comrade Tikana-Gxothiwe, as well as comrade Andile Lungisa, I want to say to them that you are leaders of the African National Congress. Having not succeeded now doesn’t mean you will not be given leadership positions as you move on.”
On the other hand, Mabuyane called on ANC structures in the province not to purge those who were delegates with a different preference. “Those comrades who didn’t prevail must not feel wounded, this is your organisation.”
On supporting Ramaphosa for a second term, Mabuyane said: “The ANC cannot afford that every time we’re going to an elective conference, we are at each other’s necks. We are happy with you, president.”