The battle for a seat in the ANC top six is heating up ahead of the party’s elective conference in December, with recent provincial conferences in Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape said to have strengthened President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid for a second term at the helm of the governing party.
The ANC top six comprises the president, deputy president, national chairperson, secretary-general, deputy secretary-general and treasurer-general.
Sunday World understands the so-called radical economic transformation (RET) faction, which opposes Ramaphosa’s bid for a second term, has set its sights on KwaZulu-Natal to save its flagging campaign
But RET lobbyists who spoke to Sunday World believe it’s still early days yet, saying their main focus is on the province where the faction commands the strongest base.
“Eastern Cape RET comrades put up a good fight. You would have seen the numbers, that they were close. We have had a briefing of what happened in the conference and concluded that against all odds we did well. The main focus is now in KZN. We are pretty much solid in terms of numbers,” said one provincial leader and a key lobbyist for the RET faction.
He said the RET faction will strategise on how it can leverage on divisions in Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.
KwaZulu-Natal will hold its highly anticipated elective conference in July, where premier Sihle Zikalala, who is touted at the man to deliver KZN to Ramaphosa, will seek re-election as chairperson.
Several people have been put forward on the RET ticket to challenge Zikalala. They include finance MEC Nomusa Dube, eThekwini metro mayor Mxolisi Kaunda and chairperson of eMalahleni region and former Newcastle mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba.
On Monday, an Eastern Cape elective conference characterised by chaos, skirmishes and last-minute horse trading saw Ramaphosa backer Oscar Mabuyane emerge victorious over opponent Babalo Madikizela.
Mabuyane is said to harbour ambitions of becoming Ramaphosa’s second in command.
However, one of his lobbyists said they are not necessarily gunning for that position, but rather for him to be part of the ANC top six. Several candidates, including Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile and Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, have been thrown in the mix for the deputy presidency.
Mabuyane lobbyists say they plan to engage with other provinces and regions that share their views on an ANC renewal under Ramaphosa.
Mpumalanga ANC provincial secretary Muzi Chirwa said they have not discussed any positions as yet, but will support unity and renewal of the party under Ramaphosa.
“We are preoccupied by the upcoming policy conference but we are also engaged in Ramaphosa’s agenda of uniting the ANC and ensuring that the ANC addresses the concerns of our communities as far as service delivery is concerned,” said Chirwa.
ANC Limpopo secretary Soviet Lekganyane said: “If comrades from the Eastern Cape have a particular view that they want to canvass with us at the right time they will approach us and we will exchange views.”