Deputy president David Mabuza’s ascension to power is comparable to the apostle Paul’s Damascus moment, says former ANC Youth League leader Ronald Lamola.
On his way to Damascus from Jerusalem, Saul was renamed Paul after a sudden turning point and conversion to Christianity.
“I want to congratulate DD [Mabuza], he has reached his Damascus moment,” Lamola told the Mail & Guardian on Tuesday.
Following Cyril Ramaphosa’s triumph over Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma in the race for president and the landslide victory of Mabuza as his deputy, Lamola emerged as one of the favourites to be elected onto the ANC’s NEC. He received the second highest number of nominations for the NEC with 1 171 nominations. Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula received the most, with 1 204 nominations.
Lamola said the election of Mabuza as deputy president would be the catalyst that ensures that there is a break from the old guard.
“He was the one comrade we all witnessed calling for unity. He has foresight and … understood that in the ANC we need unity. We need to do away with slate politics and we need members to participate freely,” he said.
“There is an itch for a decisive break away from the shenanigans of the past. The ANC needs an urgent break from the old guard to rejuvenate itself. If you look at the composition of the new top six his message clearly reverberated,” he said.
An elated Lamola also told the M&G that the inclusion of younger members in the NEC would hasten the rejuvenation of the party. “I am not a minister, I am not an MP, or NEC member I am just an ordinary member of the ANC. But the branches see that there is a need for younger people to lead in order to preserve the history of the organisation,” he said.
“We have always maintained that most ANC members across the country are young people and it is young people that are the biggest participants and foot soldiers of the ANC. So, it is in that regard that we came up with the policy of generational mix in 2011. Today we see it come into life,” said Lamola.
“The incoming NEC will be ripe with young people. We want to participate in the ANC. This is in preparation for the 2022 elective conference. Then we will break completely from the old guard. There will be a new generation altogether taking over the ANC. That then will represent a clear renewal,” he added.
ANC veteran Joel Netshitenzhe received 1 145 nominations, minister of home affairs Ayanda Dlodlo received 1 103 nominations and minister of finance Malusi Gigaba received 1 075 nominations.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Carl Niehaus, Pravin Gordhan and party spokesperson Zizi Kodwa also accepted their nominations.
But minister of trade and industry Rob Davies, minister of public enterprises Lynne Brown, Limpopo chair Stan Mathabatha and Gauteng deputy chair David Makhura all declined their nominations.
Lamola, with another biblical reference, said Ramaphosa’s victory was an act of God. “I was ridiculed by analysts and journalists alike when I said CR would emerge as president. But Jesus carried the different delegates to the voting booth and told them to vote for CR and they did. Now he is president and we are ready to be led,” he said.
Cyril Ramaphosa was elected the 13th president of the ANC winning 2 440 votes to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s 2 261.