The ANC has called its deputy president, David Mabuza, to order after he announced to the media that he was available for a second term.
While on the campaign trail in Mamelodi, Pretoria two weeks ago, Mabuza said he was fit and healthy and gave a strong signal that he would avail himself for a second term as deputy president of the ANC.
In the same week, ANC and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa avoided the question of a possible next term when questioned by the media.
“We have called him to order and everybody who is involved in that discussion, we are not there. We will have the whole year to discuss leadership, we are not there. So everyone who discusses that with you they are really taking us off the rails,” Mbalula said of Mabuza on Monday.
“We are focused now … so anyone who has got an uncontrollable desire for power and who decides to basically speak about leadership issues, they are completely off the rails and that must be very clear.”
ANC members are said to have already begun lobbying in the race for positions ahead of the party’s elective conference set to take place next year.
The conference will be held against the backdrop of the ANC’s struggle to renew itself. Sources have told the Mail & Guardian that the race for president of the party will likely be uncontested, but ANC leaders are eyeing the position of deputy president and secretary general.
ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe has been touted as next in line to take over as deputy president, with treasurer general Paul Mashatile also in the running.
“We will have enough time for people to speak on their desires, ambitions and their wishes standing or not standing and all of that is coming. Any political party as big as the ANC cannot be that stupid to discuss issues that don’t matter,” Mbalula said.
“The issue of who becomes the next president is a non-debate now. If we are stupid enough we can do what others are doing. It is very wrong for anybody in the middle of this campaign when we are left with two weeks, you raise a non-debate.”
Mabuza was elected as deputy president in the ANC’s Nasrec conference after his home province of Mpumalanga defected from the pro-Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma faction of the party and joined that backing Ramaphosa.