Gauteng ANC chair David Makhura may have been elected uncontested but he is likely to face tough times with the provincial executive committee (PEC) mostly made up of members from a rival faction.
The Mail & Guardian has learned that of the 30 PEC members in Gauteng, 27 were on the list of a faction that backed economic development MEC Lebogang Maile to become Makhura’s deputy.
Makhura reportedly supported a group that backed former Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau as his deputy. Tau was elected provincial treasurer after the last-minute horse trading that saw education MEC Panyaza Lesufi elected deputy, beating Maile by 22 votes.
The new PEC will meet next week to elect a provincial working committee (PWC) to run the day-to-day affairs of the party.
With the PEC made up mainly of Maile’s backers, the configuration of the PWC is also likely to mimic the same pattern. A PEC member sympathetic to Maile said Makhura would struggle to take key decisions without a PEC that supported him.
“The power is with the PEC. He can take decisions to reshuffle the provincial Cabinet, as it is his prerogative to do so, but the PEC can always reverse that decision. He can’t be reckless. He is a lame duck,” the PEC member said. “All decisions must be ratified by the PEC.”
Makhura might also find it difficult to act against embattled former MECs Qedani Mahlangu and Brian Hlongwa. Both appeared on a list of members sympathetic to Maile and have been elected to the PEC. Maile’s faction also secured the positions of provincial secretary and deputy provincial secretary following the election of Jacob Khawe and Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko.
Another pro-Maile PEC member said Makhura would have to retain cordial relations with these leaders to find favour with the PEC: “He [Makhura] will have no choice but to work with the provincial secretary and the PEC, otherwise the PEC will humble him.”
However a third PEC member, sympathetic to the Lesufi and Tau grouping, said it was too early to tell whether Makhura would be reduced to a lame duck “but I don’t think it will happen the way they are saying it will happen”.