Replacement: Cyril Ramaphosa and Zweli Mkhize during then outgoing ANC president Jacob Zuma's final speech at the party's 54th national elective conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre on December 16, 2017 in Johannesburg. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Veli Nhlapo)
Lobbying for the post of the next ANC president has kicked off, with the Sekhukhune region in Limpopo launching the first salvo in support of incumbent Cyril Ramaphosa in the build-up to the ruling party’s 110 year anniversary celebrations on 8 January.
Ramaphosa received his first public endorsement during the party’s cadres assembly at Moses Mabotha Hall on Wednesday. This was the first signal that ANC regions have opened discussions on the national elective conference to be held later this year.
Although factions in the regions and provinces have largely shared the sentiment that Ramaphosa should receive a second term, his traditional allies have been dealt blows at recent regional conferences.
Ramaphosa’s ally, Oscar Mabuyane, suffered losses in the Eastern Cape, where some key regions rallied behind his rival, ANC provincial treasurer Babalo Madikizela.
Madikizela, who first supported Zweli Mkhize for ANC president during the 2017 Nasrec elective conference, was part of the Eastern Cape faction that was instrumental in Ramaphosa’s ascendence to the top job when Mkhize withdrew from the race.
Sources close to Madikizela previously told the Mail & Guardian that Ramaphosa would be the faction’s preferred candidate this year.
Ramaphosa’s ally in Limpopo, Soviet Lekganyane, was also bruised during regional conferences when the faction aligned with Danny Msiza emerged victorious.
Although Ramaphosa has avoided speculation over his availability for a second term, his deputy, David Mabuza, has already indicated that he is up for the job.
The ANC is holding its 110th year anniversary as the country digests the Zondo commission report which has laid bare the ruling party’s role in the capture of the state.
The first of the commission’s three part report found that the ANC not only allowed state capture to flourish, but in some instances proceeds of this form of corruption flowed to its party coffers.
The ANC’s national executive committee is expected to reflect on the Zondo report when it meets on Thursday to iron out its 8 January 8 message.
Speaking on Thursday during an event hosted by labour federation Cosatu y, Mabuza said the ruling party should not be distracted from its mission to renew and regenerate itself. He said it must adapt to the prevailing conditions and take an honest look at its performance.
“We are prepared to take criticism and we are prepared to correct. The ANC has the capacity to self-correct. We have to gather new strength, new courage to take the movement into a new path and it will happen,” he said.
“We must admit that we had difficulties within our movement. Mainly because we have got foreign tendencies that have invaded our movement. We must stand up and fight corruption whenever it rears its head. We must stand together because it’s possible to be divided as we wage this fight. We must defeat corruption.”