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Cyril hails Mabuyane on re-election as ANC chair

Earlier in the day, the Eastern Cape chairperson made a clean sweep against Babalo Madikizela when he received 812 votes against his counterpart's 662 ballots

Nomazima Nkosi Senior reporter
President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC Eastern Cape chairman Oscar Mabuyane share a light moment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC Eastern Cape chairman Oscar Mabuyane share a light moment.
Image: Andisa Bonani

Usebenzile!” So whispered President Cyril Ramaphosa to ANC Eastern Cape chairperson Oscar Mabuyane as he took to the podium to address a crucial conference that loudly endorsed him to lead the party for a second term come December.

Mabuyane, a staunch lobbyist of Ramaphosa, was re-elected to lead the party in the Eastern Cape during a dramatic conference that captured the nation’s imagination at the weekend.

As Mabuyane called Ramaphosa to the podium on Monday night, he emphasised that the president should be given a second term and quipped: “But you must leave after five years, we won’t entertain a third term.”

Mabuyane's win is a major boost for Ramaphosa, who so far has the backing of three provinces in the bag – the others being Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.
Mabuyane's win is a major boost for Ramaphosa, who so far has the backing of three provinces in the bag – the others being Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.
Image: Supplied

His win is a major boost for Ramaphosa, who so far has the backing of three provinces in the bag – the others being Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.

Grinning from ear to ear, Ramaphosa was candid on Mabuyane’s win. “I was watching him [earlier] on TV ejuluka [sweating]. But I see now he’s no longer sweating. He was clearly worried about what is going to happen.”

Earlier in the day, Mabuyane made a clean sweep against Babalo Madikizela when he received 812 votes against his counterpart's 662 ballots. 

When Mabuyane was announced as the winner, his supporters immediately whisked him from his chair at the back of plenary and carried him on to the stage, clearing the plastic chairs along the way.

Shortly after the results were announced those on the losing slate walked to greet and congratulate their opponents. Terris Ntutu, who lost to Lulama Ngcukayitobi for the position of provincial secretary, walked to the stage to congratulate him after the announcement was made.

Ramaphosa’s address also emphasised the need for unity in the party. “With this decision that you’ve taken, I’d say if we came to this conference divided, all those differences must now melt away, the factions must now collapse. We must no longer have a Mabuyane or a Madikizela grouping,” Ramaphosa said.

“Even with those comrades that have been elected, they must not railroad those who lost. It must be unity. My task is to ensure unity. But it must be principled unity. Not unity for the sake of unity.”

Shortly after the results were announced yesterday, speculation grew that Madikizela, who is public works MEC, may be the first casualty of an anticipated reshuffle.

However, Mabuyane said there would be no purging of members.

Echoing Mabuyane’s political report presented on Saturday, Ramaphosa said: “We must also move to deal with the negative tendencies and practices that have crept into our movement over time. Ill discipline, factionalism and other tendencies continue to plague our movement.

“Where anyone is found to have manipulated processes, where votes are bought, we must deal with these. The time has come for us to develop the most explicit rules about the kind of conduct that disqualifies  someone from being a leader of our movement.”

The Eastern Cape is the third province to rally behind Ramaphosa as the race to the party's national conference heats up. Chairs of the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga both asked Ramaphosa to avail himself should the time come.

The ANC will hold its national elective conference in December and national leaders have already started lobbying countrywide. 

National executive committee (NEC) member Zweli Mkhize is said to be gunning for the ANC presidency. Other national leaders such as NEC members Ronald Lamola and Paul Mashatile will be going head-to-head for the position of deputy president.

One of the conference's biggest losers was Andile Lungisa, who was running for provincial treasurer. Delegates aligned to Uyabuya – Mabuyane's lobby group – accused him of being behind the conference running longer than planned.

Lungisa lost to Zolile Williams, who is the Joe Gqabi municipal manager.

One delegate from Joe Gqabi admitted he did not know Williams before hearing his name nominated from the floor but said he voted for him.

“His nomination came from our core. I know Andile wanted it but he frustrated conference and he would've been difficult to handle and work with. Had he entered plenary and allowed conference to run its programme uninterrupted, he could've walked out with it,” the delegate said.

Lungisa lost by 133 votes.

After the results Madikizela announced he would be resigning from government next week. Madikizela, who was nominated to serve in the provincial executive committee, is public works MEC.

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