/ 17 December 2021

ANC Eastern Cape region to lobby for Madikizela to replace Mabuyane as provincial chair

Partners in denial: Babalo Madikizela
Eastern Cape ANC leaders Babalo Madikizela (left) and Oscar Mabuyane (right).

Lobbying in the Eastern Cape for the ANC’s provincial elective conference, which will influence the national elective congress later in 2022, has kicked off in the Alfred Nzo region. 

The region held its two-day elective congress on Wednesday where, as expected, the faction of provincial treasurer Babalo Madikizela ran unopposed.

The region resolved that its executive should lead engagements with other Eastern Cape regions to lobby for Madikizela and Amathole secretary Terris Ntuthu ahead of next year’s provincial conference. It declared that Madikizela should be considered for the provincial chair and Ntuthu for the provincial secretary. 

“We shall make sure that as the region our mark is made in shaping the debates towards the provincial conference. Both in leadership election and in organisational building, Alfred Nzo cannot play an observing role,” the declaration document said.

“We must lead in restoring the integrity of our movement in the public domain. Our branches must work much harder together to rebuild and unite this glorious movement of our people. Our fundamental task is to lead a concerted campaign aimed at addressing the persistent challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.”

The Alfred Nzo declaration effectively pits Madikizela against outgoing Eastern Cape chair Oscar Mabuyane for the top position in the province. 

Earlier this year, Mabuyane, a staunch ally of President Cyril Ramaphosa, indicated he would be available to contest next year’s provincial elections. Mabuyane played a key role in Ramaphosa’s rise to the top post in the ANC.

Madikizela, who in 2017 declared Zweli Mkhize as his preferred presidential candidate for the ANC’s conference in Nasrec, has long been touted by Mabuyane’s detractors as their preferred candidate to lead the Eastern Cape, including those belonging to the ANC’s so-called Radical Economic Transformation faction. 

But should Madikizela prevail over Mabuyane, it is still not expected to significantly hurt Ramaphosa’s chances for re-election as ANC president next year.

Alfred Nzo, the third-biggest ANC Eastern Cape region with 107 branches, is where Madikizela first emerged on the political stage. In Nelson Mandela Bay, Madikizela’s allies, including his key lieutenant, Luyolo Nqakula, are said to be optimistic about wresting the region from Mabuyane when it goes to conference next year.

Nelson Mandela Bay, with at least 65 branches, is also home to former ANC youth league deputy president Andile Lungisa — a staunch ally of the party’s suspended secretary general, Ace Magashule — who is hoping to enlist Madikizela in exposing cracks in the Ramaphosa camp come the national elective conference.