ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed Naledi Pandor, the minister of science and technology, would be running as his deputy president candidate in the leadership campaign for the party’s elective conference to be held in Johannesburg this December.
Ramaphosa was speaking at a rally at the Tafelkopp Stadium outside Groblersdal in Limpopo when he urged the crowd to support his CR17 (#CR17Siyavuma) campaign to become president of the party which has governed South Africa since the advent of democracy in 1994.
Announcing his slate to a crowd of about 3000 people, Ramaphosa confirmed that former KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson, Senzo Mchunu, who was removed as premier of the province in a messy reshuffle last year, was contesting the secretary general position.
Other members of Ramaphosa’s slate included current ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe for the chairperson’s position and current Gauteng MEC Paul Mashatile for the treasurer general position. The current ANC deputy president did not mention who would fill the deputy secretary general position but urged the crowd to support the nomination of several of his supporters who hailed from the province for the party’s national executive committee. They included health minister Aaron Motsoaledi and member of parliament, Mathole Motshekga.
Speaking to the Mail & Guardian at the Groblersdal Hospital, where he was visiting ANC supporters who suffered minor injuries after a tent collapsed at the rally, Ramaphosa described Pandor as a “hard worker, a principled comrade” and “a person of great integrity, unquestionable integrity”.
Ramaphosa said Pandor was one of the best performing ministers in Cabinet, “with no blemishes” and someone who “demonstrated a true commitment to the ideals of the ANC”, hence the decision to add her to the slate
He said the supporters in hospital had suffered superficial injuries and he expressed relief that a “near disaster” had been averted because of the quick response to the incident — which also saw health minister Aaron Motsoaledi on the scene assisting those who had been injured.
With supporters of Ramaphosa’s main rival for leadership of the ANC, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, claiming that it is time for a woman to lead the ANC, Ramaphosa was under pressure to name a female deputy as a running mate, at the very least.
Pandor has served in Cabinet since 2004, filling various portfolios, including the education ministry and a previous stint as minister of science and technology. The 63-year-old Pandor is struggle royalty: her grandfather was the respected ANC leader and education reformist ZK Matthews and her father was also an anti-apartheid activist, Joe Matthews.