The campaign to become the ANC’s next president hit overdrive this weekend as presidential hopefuls occupied several stadiums and podiums across the country to engage with branches of the party.
The front runners in the race – former African Union commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa attended several engagements in Gauteng, with Dlamini-Zuma even addressing an ANC Free State cadres’ forum.
ANC national executive committee member Lindiwe Sisulu took her “It’s a MUST” message to parts of the Western Cape.
Dlamini-Zuma’s “NDZ” campaign seems to have found its second wind, following the ANC’s narrow win in the motion of no confidence ballot on August 8, which was brought up by opposition parties against President Jacob Zuma.
The former AU commission chair had a punishing schedule that saw her speaking at the Progressive Professionals Forum, at the Lilliesleaf branch of the party in Johannesburg, in the Free State and Ekurhuleni in Gauteng just one weekend.
While she told comrades in the Free State that the issue of ANC MPs voting with opposition parties could not be ignored, she was more direct and vocal in her criticism in Alexandra when she visited the area some hours later.
“No-one is above the ANC and anyone who thinks they are above it has lost their consciousness,” she said at a rally in the township.
Although Dlamini-Zuma opted to focus her Sunday address at an ANC Women’s League rally in Germiston on the East Rand on fighting gender based violence and unlocking the economy, she was once again endorsed by the league.
The league’s president told crowds gathered there that she would be the only one to receive support from those who wore the trademark green blouse worn by its members.
“We have pronounced ourselves as the Women’s League, our vote says Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,” said ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini.
“We are not confused – we took that decision as the structure of the ANC. Anyone who is a woman [and a] presidential candidate can go anywhere wearing whatever… but they should not think that they are representing the ANCWL,” continued Dlamini.
She also described the motion of no confidence as a way to distract the House from discussing important gender issues.
Mzwandile Masina, the Ekurhuleni mayor and chairperson of the ANC’s branch there is seen as one of the few Dlamini-Zuma supporters in Gauteng.
At the event he made an impassioned plea for the ANC’s NEC to take action against “those who sold us out in Parliament”.
Meanwhile, Ramaphosa continued with his anti-corruption ticket, speaking at an OR Tambo memorial lecture in Braamfischerville, Soweto. He said that if corruption was holding SA back then the country needed to solve that problem.
He also said the 105 year old liberation movement needed to listen to its people, even those who were critical of it.
Former Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele, who is seen as one of the “rogue” MPs received rapturous applause and cheers when he joined Ramaphosa’s campaign on Sunday.
He is one of the MPs some ANC members want dealt with because he had been vocal on how he would vote in the motion. Gungubele also expressed a lack of confidence in Zuma’s ability to lead.
Other ANC presidential candidates – Mathews Phosa and Jeff Radebe – made their own rounds over the weekend.
Radebe, who is also a minister in the presidency, called on those who voted with the opposition in a motion of no confidence to out themselves.
He was in KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast region over the weekend.
He said it was concerning that some within the liberation movement broke rank and voted with opposition parties.
“It is very difficult to know who did it, of course, because the Speaker decided on a secret ballot. So I will not want to encourage a sort of witch-hunt to establish that, but those who have done so should have the courage of their convictions to say so,” Radebe told journalists.
ANC veteran Phosa said in Bushbuckridge on Saturday that if he went on to become South Africa’s president he would throw looters of state resources in jail.
President Jacob Zuma found his way to the Free State cadres’ forum where he shared his views on what he believes needs to happen to MPs who voted for him to go.
He also told members of the party at the event that he would raise the matter on Monday when the ANC’s national working committee meets.
The president did not appear on a list of deployees speaking at the event by the party.
He once again reiterated that in the ANC there was no tradition of the deputy automatically becoming a president.
“It’s not tradition, just a coincidence,” said Zuma.
Zuma’s collective leadership also came under fire this weekend as NEC member and former police commissioner Bheki Cele said the current NEC had failed the country.
According to SAfm, Cele said the ANC was divided from the top six officials downward.
He also criticised some for running the liberation movement as if it were a family business. He also questioned the timing and idea behind pushing Dlamini-Zuma to take over as ANC president. – News24