Dlamini-Zuma woos Mashatile
While the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma camp appears confident of winning at the ANC conference next month, there are fears behind the scenes that Mpumalanga leader David Mabuza may not give them his support, which is key to victory.
Sowetan understands that Mabuza is pushing for the Dlamini-Zuma camp to accommodate Gauteng chairman Paul Mashatile, who currently features in her opponent, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's slate as treasurer.
It is understood that in order to ensure Mabuza's support, Dlamini-Zuma's campaigners are willing to accommodate Mashatile, who has long been an opponent of the faction aligned to President Jacob Zuma and Dlamini-Zuma.
Mabuza and Mashatile have held ongoing talks about a potential "unity ticket" in order to do away with slates.
Sowetan can now reveal that senior members of the Dlamini-Zuma camp, David Mahlobo and Kebby Maphatsoe, met with Mashatile in a bid to woo him over to feature on her slate.
Mashatile apparently referred them to other Gauteng leaders who also have met with the pair. Mahlobo and Maphatsoe were not willing to comment yesterday.
"What they offered Paul is positions that do not exist, these are positions that will require delegates at conference to amend the party's constitution. Another thing is Paul will not be part of a slate or a winner-takes-all," said a senior Gauteng leader privy to the discussions.
The constitutional amendments could see the top-six leadership structure extended to nine, which would include two deputy presidents and two additional deputy secretaries-general.
The national executive committee has taken a decision to allow elections for each position separately to ensure that the losing candidate could still stand as a deputy.
A source within the Dlamini-Zuma caucus said this approach could threaten Mabuza's chances of being deputy president - he is currently on her slate as deputy. The source said should Dlamini-Zuma lose and decide to contest for the deputy president position, Mabuza could be out in the cold.
ANC Mpumalanga secretary Mandla Ndlovu yesterday said the province would pronounce on the matter on Friday at the provincial general council, however he did not dispute that Mabuza was pushing for Mashatile to be accommodated.
Asked for comment on Mashatile, ANC Gauteng spokesman Nkenke Kekana said the province did not belong to any faction and did not believe in slates.
"Gauteng will prefer a leadership that will be united and be able to unite the organisation. Unity is not the absence of contestation," he said.