Leadership race heats up ahead of Mangaung

26 October 2012 - 11:10
By Moipone Malefane

CREATIVE name-calling has become part of the ANC lobby groups ahead of the party's elective conference in December in Mangaung.

The groups, who either back President Jacob Zuma or his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe, want nothing less than to see their preferred candidates leading the ANC.

Since the branches started with the nomination process at the beginning of this month, text messages from members are flying around, with both groups claiming victory after they have successfully nominated their candidate.

One message from an anti-Zuma group in Limpopo read: "The Maskandi group should focus on music and leave politics to us. We are leading in most branches."

Maskandi is a kind of a Zulu music that is mostly sung by isiZulu-speaking people in KwaZulu-Natal where Zuma hails from.

Zuma's supporters are also called the "second dreamers", with those who want him replaced threatening to humiliate him in December.

They claim that their support for change is inspired by former president Nelson Mandela, who only served one term. They want Zuma to do the same.

They say ha uweng banna le basadi - meaning men and women let's move to Mangaung to elect a new leadership.

They are supported by the ANC Youth League, which calls its campaign "Asijiki Defence Force" - meaning there is no turning back.

Zuma's lobbyists seem more modest with their campaign, calling it the "status quo" should remain or the "second transition", which is associated with a document that was presented at the ANC policy conference in June.

The Zuma camp has also labelled the so called forces of change group the Abantu abangafuni uZuma - people who do not like Zuma.