' Unity is vital for collective'

Paul Mashatile
Paul Mashatile

Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile says the unity mooted for the ANC's elective conference is not about any ANC person or leader.

"When we talk about unity we mean the unity of the ANC so we must go to this conference and elect a leadership collective that is united," he told Business Day.

"A united ANC can never be defeated."

But the idea of unity has been associated with particular candidates, especially Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, after President Jacob Zuma held unity meetings with chairmen and secretaries two weeks ago. While Mashatile and other provincial chairmen, including Mpumalanga's David Mabuza, have pushed unity to prevent a damaging split ahead of the 2019 elections, the faction aligned to MP Dlamini-Zuma, in Mpumalanga in particular, have associated her name with the call for unity.

On Friday, Business Day reported that Mpumalanga structures got instructions from provincial HQ that those who nominated a "unity" position during their branch general meetings, should translate their support into a vote for Dlamini-Zuma at the conference.

Mashatile said: "If we come out of that conference united, working as a team, victory is certain in 2019.

"Nobody will defeat us."

In Mpumalanga, ANC leader in the Nkangala region, Mxolisi Hoboyi, has raised concerns over national leaders who are attempting to remove Cyril Ramaphosa-aligned delegates and prevent them from attending the conference during the delegate verification process.

Ramaphosa himself has reportedly said he was worried about vote-buying as factions become desperate to secure victory for their candidates.

The verification process is set to wrap up this week so Luthuli House can finalise the delegations for the conference that is expected to start on Saturday.