Talks over deputy president post continues moments ahead of ANC candidates nominations

Nomazima Nkosi Senior reporter
ANC NEC member Senzo Mchunu did not make the cut in the party deputy president nomination list.
ANC NEC member Senzo Mchunu did not make the cut in the party deputy president nomination list.
Image: Brian Witbooi

With hours to go before the nominations of candidates of the ANC top six positions some in the CR22 slate are understood to have embarked on a serious horse trading over the deputy president position.

According to allies of President Cyril Ramaphosa his backers are split on who should be his number two.

Some prefer Senzo Mchunu who did not garner enough numbers to make the ballot.

Others, however, want justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola or Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane to occupy the position.

At least two campaigners of the CR22 slate told Sowetan that there had been last minute negotiations with various provinces to try and push through Mchunu's name for deputy president.

"There is a feeling from the likes of [minister in the presidency] Mondli [Gungubele] that they owe Mchunu for what happened in 2017.

"In 2017, there was the issue of the 68 votes and a threat of litigating the conference and they had asked him to step back which he did.

"So now, Mondli is unrelenting, and they are pushing for him (Mchunu) to be nominated but the problem is he doesn't have the numbers and the question then remains, who will raise him from the floor and who will vote for him because that's the only way he can be on the ballot at this point," the insider said.

In 2017, Mchunu lost to Ace Magashule for the secretary general position by 24 votes. Magashule received 2,360 votes while Mchunu 2,336.

There were eight abstentions and four spoilt votes. Mchunu’s supporters at the time said the numbers did not add up and wanted to challenge them after the EleXion agency said 4,708 of the 4,776 of the delegates had voted. They wanted to know what had happened to the 68 votes which could swing things in Mchunu’s favour.

Mchunu, who missed out on the ballot, will need 25% of the conference delegates to endorse his entry into the race if he is nominated from the floor.

Currently contesting for the deputy president position are ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile who received the most nominations, Lamola as well as Mabuyane.

One of Mabuyane's campaigners said a delegation from Mabuyane as well as Lamola's held discussions on Friday to find a way forward.

"For now, whatever happens, Mabuyane is contesting as DP. Mabuyane and Lamola don't have any issues, but the worry is if both contest, we run the risk of splitting our votes and making way for Mashatile to come to be elected," said one Mabuyane campaigner.

"Aside from Ramaphosa, we really don't know how this will go because everyone is talking to everyone and different factions keep saying their bringing a certain number of voters, you meet with a different group from the same province and they'll also say they've got a certain number of delegates."

Lobbying reached fever pitch with a group from KwaZulu-Natal and a lobby group supporting secretary-general hopeful Phumulo Masualle holding a caucus after plenary adjourned for dinner on Friday.

A close ally of Masualle said the meeting was to consolidate numbers, adding that Masualle was firmly poised to occupy the secretary-general's office.

Masualle is going up against former KZN provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli as well as transport minister Fikile Mbalula.

"Phumulo has the numbers on this side. This caucus was about consolidating our numbers and welcoming new supporters from the different provinces.

"We've got nearly 200 delegates from the Eastern Cape in our corner, we've welcomed new supporters from Northern Cape, Limpopo, Western Cape and KZN," the lobby group member said.

However, those supporting Mbalula for SG, have downplayed Masualle's support saying that KZN was having second thoughts on the matter.

"Phumulo hasn't delivered the numbers that were initially promised and right now KZN is considering rallying behind Mdumiseni because he's in the lead.

"Phumulo's people came to us and promised that if we can ensure he makes it in the NEC as well as three of their other candidates, they will support us," the insider said.

However, Masualle's camp refuted this, adding that they had asked them to support Mbalula, in exchange for voting in Masualle in the NEC.

"They asked that he decline nomination, allow Mbalula to contest the position and they would ensure he's part of the NEC. We rejected this," said the insider.

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