Four African National Congress (ANC) regions in Limpopo have thrown their weight behind provincial chairperson, Stanley Mathabatha’s pronouncement on the ANC national leadership on Saturday.
During the party’s 110th anniversary celebration at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, Mathabatha said Limpopo will endorse party president Cyril Ramaphosa for a second term as ANC president.
The ruling party’s elective conference is expected to take place in December this year. Nominations for the ANC leadership are not yet open — but Limpopo province has already made its preference known.
In his welcoming address on Saturday at the January 8th event – provincial chairperson – Stanley Mathabatha said the party will endorse the incumbent for a second term. This triggered a debate within party structures.
“What we are simply saying comrades is that when the curtain opens that we should start campaigning for the leadership for the president of the African National Congress. There is absolutely no doubt that we as Limpopo are going to campaign for Cyril Ramaphosa.”
This is the view that appears to have the majority of support from branches. The Waterberg and Peter Mokaba regions say President Ramaphosa will bring unity and stability to the party.
ANC Chairperson for the Peter Mokaba Region, John Mpe says, “For the sake of the unity of the organisation, stability and the fact that President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa has done so well in keeping the organisation intact under very difficult conditions, we believe that he is the right man to take us to another five years. Those with an aspiration to become president must wait. Their time will come. We will give a president two terms.”
Spokesperson of the ANC Waterberg region Matome Moremi-Taueatsoala says, “What they need to do in the immediate is to avoid the contest at the national conference. Because an experience tells us that all conferences where we had a contest give birth to smaller parties that are eating out of the organisation – the ANC.
“I’ll give an example about when President Mbeki contested for the third time because for the first term and the second term, he was not contested. When he tried to contest for the third term, here in Polokwane, when President Zuma beat him, it gave birth to COPE. In 2012, when Kgalema Motlanthe contested Zuma, it gave birth to EFF. In 2017, when Mme Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma contested against President Ramaphosa, it gave birth to parties like ATM and Hlaudi’s party. These are people who ordinarily would vote for the African National Congress,” elaborates Moremi-Taueatsoala.
The ANC in Vhembe and Sekhukhune regions have also thrown their weight behind Ramaphosa for the second term in Luthuli House. And, while the ANC’s Norman Mashabane Region in Mopani doesn’t want to be drawn into the succession debate yet, it says it appreciates the work done by the president since the last conference.
Norman Mashabane’s Regional spokesperson, Peter Ngobeni says, “Norman Mashabane region has always supported the president. It has always supported the president of the African National Congress Cyril Ramaphosa to the extent that we’re quite confident in terms of the organisational renewal and design since the 54th, national conference of the African National Congress as we speak, you would know that already we have a step aside principle that came as a consequence of the resolution of that conference. The desire for the movement, to rid itself of corruption.”
Political analyst Enoch Maponya says the premature endorsements of the candidates could have political repercussions.
“It is better for members of the ANC to wait until the party allows them to start campaigning for their candidates. This pre-mature announcement is a ploy to apply for jobs under Cyril Ramaphosa. If it happens that the candidate concern does not win, the winning candidate will find it difficult to accommodate them in the new structure, like cabinet, and so on. We saw this in 2017, after structures like the ANC Youth League, the Women’s League, MKVA loudly started canvassing for Nkosazana Zuma and when she didn’t win, some of them, if not most, have not been accommodated in the new structure under Cyril Ramaphosa.”
Frans Mohlala House is the ANC provincial headquarters in Limpopo. This is where the final decisions of the ANC in the province are made.
The big decision that has been taken is that all the ANC branches in Limpopo will have to support President Cyril Ramaphosa for the second term in the next ANC elective conference.
The regions say they’ll also support Stanley Mathabatha – who is the chairperson of the ANC in the province to form part of the ANC’s top six.