DESPITE appeals for ANC presidential candidates Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to reach common ground, the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng yesterday weighed in on the party’s two deputy presidents’ proposal.
This comes amid calls for the ANC to expand its top six national executive committee (NEC) to accommodate two deputy presidents in a bid to mend fences by avoiding a winner-takes-all leadership scrimmage. It’s expected to fall under the microscope when delegates converge on Nasrec this weekend. However, the ANC in KwaZuluNatal has rejected the proposal – despite the head of the ANC subcommittee on organisational matters, Fikile Mbalula, listing it last week as an item up for discussion at the conference.
ANC provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli said while the province that would be sending a 870-strong delegation to the conference was not averse to a consensus leadership, it did not support the proposal for two deputy presidents.
“The issue of two deputy presidents does not have the support of my province in KwaZulu-Natal. “We only agreed to have two deputy secretary-generals and we explained it. One deputy president is sufficient.” This comes after the ANC provinces recently wrapped up their provincial branch nominations.
With Ramaphosa having obtained more than 1 800 nominations to just over 1 300 for Dlamini Zuma, some have argued that it is still unclear as to who the front-runner is as the size of branches could also be a determining factor regarding who is likely to emerge as ANC president. Regarding the proposal, Ntuli said that the ANC in the province was willing to be persuaded otherwise on the proposal.
“We’ll be engaging the matter to see whether we are persuaded, but we are not convinced politically that there is a basis for the proposal. We only agreed to two deputy secretary-generals,” he said. Ntuli said the province would also not reject the idea of a “unity lineup” to accommodate a diversified leadership structure.
“We also don’t support the principle of a winner-takes-all slate, we may elect a leadership collection that reflects different views but the electoral college as branches of the ANC are the final arbiters,” he said. However, ANC Gauteng provincial spokesperson Nkenke Kekana believed there was a basis for the proposal and that it agreed that Luthuli House needed to be “strengthened”.
“That is our position. We agreed with strengthening the ANC at head office. We believe that organisational design will enable the ANC to deal with the challenges of governance,” he said. However, Kekana said the basis for the proposal should be premised on modernising the ANC and not on the basis of dousing flames in a bitter leadership tussle.
“The strengthening of Luthuli House cannot be a fight between factions. It should adapt the ANC to changing situations, to lead society,” he said. The first day of conference will be the decider on whether the proposal for two deputy presidents will be accepted by the delegates as ANC policy. It is believed that the position of deputy president will be filled by one or two of the hopefuls, Mpumalanga chairperson David Mabuza, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu or ANC treasurer general Dr Zweli Mkhize.