Sun Apr 23 07:38:18 SAST 2017

ANC branch tips Sisulu for president

By Zine George | 2017-04-20 11:57:30.0

February 16, 2017. OLD HAND: Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu  is one of the ANC’s longestserving MPs. She says using gender as a criterion to elect a leader disempowers women. Pic: ESA ALEXANDER. © SUNDAY TIMES

The race to succeed President Jacob Zuma has been thrown wide open with Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu due to address an ANC branch that has given its tacit support to her.

ANC ward 11 branch chairman in the Amathole region in Eastern Cape, Sipiwo Venkile, confirmed yesterday that they had invited Sisulu to address the official renaming of the branch tomorrow and would engage her about the ANC succession.

The invitation comes at a time when images of vehicles and branded merchandise, including T-shits, bearing Sisulu's face with the message "Sisulu17" are being circulated on social network.

But yesterday the department dismissed this as "nothing but fake news".

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"These cars that have foreign registration numbers, including caps and billboards with the face of the minister are clearly the work of bored individuals with a lot of time on their hands. It is fake news," said the department in a statement.

Venkile said Sisulu was an experienced leader who has never been tainted by the Gupta capturing issue, hence they were considering her their leader."

"She [Sisulu] is an experienced leader who led several government departments and went into exile and became an MK [Umkhonto weSizwe, the ANC's liberation army] operative," Venkile said.

"This is the launch of our branch but we cannot leave out the December succession discussions."

Sisulu's spokesman, Vusi Tshose, confirmed yesterday that the minister would address the launch tomorrow but said she was not informed about any discussions relating to the ANC succession.

"It's the official renaming of the branch. She was invited to do the official renaming as a member of the NEC [national executive committee]. That's the brief. She does not have any other information except that of the official opening of the branch," Tshose said.

Venkile said that as ANC members they were aware that "this matter [succession discussion] is yet to be opened for public debate. But we are concerned that other structures such as the Women's League and the Youth League are allowed to make their preferences known" before the elective conference in December.

The ANCYL and Women's League have declared their support for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed Zuma .

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