Race to replace David Mabuza as ANC Mpumalanga chairperson underway

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The race to replace former Mpumalanga African National Congress (ANC) chairperson David Mabuza has gained momentum with competing groups announcing their preferred candidates.

One faction announced Tourism Deputy Minister Fish Mahlalela as their preferred candidate, while the other led by former ANC provincial secretary Lucky Ndinisa launched its campaign in Mkhondo.

Internal political negotiations among comrades are ongoing within the ANC to replace former provincial ANC chairperson, David Mabuza, who was elevated to Luthuli House as the party’s deputy president.

The engagements have been amongst party members who want to secure early deals ahead of the provincial elective conference. Mandla Ndlovu has been acting chairperson since Mabuza left.

Former Finance MEC, Pat Ngomane supports Lucky Ndinisa who also came into the race. Ndinisa says his branch requested him to stand for the position.

“My branch has requested me to also come into the race available for the position of the Provincial chairperson in the ANC. Since then there have been a number of comrades who said they are supporting me – until recently when a lobby group called itself NGCI approached me and says look we want to be part of your campaign; basically that’s where we are. However, I want to say that it is my belief that when the ASNC is united, the ANC will be able to ensure that it becomes a vehicle for fundamental radically socio-economic transformation  where it can be able to serve our people with necessary humility, dignity and commitment.”

Mpumalanga premier, Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane made a U-turn on the contestation for the position and joined Mandla Ndlovu, who is supported by Peter Nyoni, who was part of the anti-Mabuza “Save ANC Mpumalanga” lobby group.

Sources say Nyoni’s campaign is likely to find support in some parts of the Ehlanzeni region‚ where he’s a former deputy chairman‚ as well as Nkangala region, which is led by Speedy Mashilo, another opponent of Mabuza. The Fish Mahlalela group also counts on the support and experience of their contender, Fish Mahlalela.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Senzeni Ngubeni says Mabuza’s departure left the ANC dysfunctional.

“So we are equivocally calling comrade Fish Mahlalela to come and lead and other lobby groups as well because we are hearing this message that we must go back to the ANC and leave all these funny things we are doing so that the ANC can come back. We know that some comrades are scared that when comrade Fish comes into the helm, people are going to be arrested. We are not saying that, we are saying Comrade Fish must come and reconstitute the ANC back to its values.”

Mahlalela was instrumental in organising support for President Cyril Ramaphosa in Mpumalanga in the run-up to the 2017 ANC elective conference. The group says Mahlalela has skills that can help reconstitute the ANC back to its values.

Lucky Jacobs, another Mahlalela backer, says the ANC will be safe under his leadership.

“As we lobby as we campaign we need to engage what is important is all these forces that are competing for this position has to be engaged no faction is going to win this conference alone hence ourselves as a group that we say ‘Mayibuye i ANC’ we are ready to be engaged and we are also ready to engage to show comrades the importance of the unity under comrade Fish and we need one another to operate under one roof to have the ANC that operates under one constitution.”)

With political activities now allowed under lockdown level one, the ANC in the province hopes that all Branch General Meeting will take place soon which will ultimately lead to the elective conference as early as May.