/ 21 September 2007

North West ANC names its top six

The ANC leadership in the North West has, as expected, nominated President Thabo Mbeki to continue for another term as party president.

Although the formal nomination process starts only in October, the provincial executive committee has released a list of its top six preferences to its regions and branches for discussion.

The province wants Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to be Mbeki’s deputy. Mbeki ally Joel Netshitenzhe was nominated as party secretary general, despite his insistence that he is not available for political office.

Unexpectedly, the province has nominated senior foreign affairs official Jessie Duarte as a deputy secretary general. Duarte has been quiet for years since she was implicated in a scandal during her tenure as provincial minister in Gauteng.

A commission set up to investigate her department found there was a strong suspicion she was involved in covering up an accident she was involved in while driving without a licence in 1998, but could not produce a definitive finding.

The province has nominated North West legislature speaker Thandi Modise as treasurer general. Modise is a veteran of Umkhonto weSizwe and was tipped to be appointed premier by Mbeki in 2004, but was overlooked in favour of Edna Molewa.

The provincial leaders have suggested ANC secretary general Kgalema Motlanthe as the national chairperson. Conspicuously absent from the list are others close to Mbeki, such as Public Works Minister Thoko Didiza, Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota and Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

These three are present in an earlier Mbeki-supporting list distributed by Eastern Cape provincial executive committee member Andile Nkuhlu.

However, sources in the province say provincial secretary Supra Mahumapelo will use the list merely to engage in horse-trading with other provinces, notably Gauteng and Free State.

Mbeki has been nominated openly by the Eastern Cape provincial executive committee, which is facing discontent from some regions favouring Zuma.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal and the youth league have publicly ­nominated Zuma.

Motlanthe told the Mail & Guardian the lists doing the rounds have no standing in the party until each province holds a provincial general council meeting where the names will be finalised.

After the completion of the provincial general councils, they have to send names and records of their meetings to an ANC electoral commission, which will be responsible for overseeing the nominations and elections process.

The commission, made up mainly of ANC veterans, begins its work in October. Commission members include Henry Makgothi, Ruth Mompati, Laloo Chiba, Ben Turok, Bertha Gxowa, Rashaka Ratshitanga and Gertrude Shope.

ANC North West spokesperson Sam Mokaila did not respond to messages left for him for comment.