The August 3 local government election saw the downfall of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), and in a desperate effort to maintain a strong youthful leadership, the party touted former ANC Youth League leaders, Malusi Gigaba and Fikile Mbalula to take up senior positions within the organization.
Report from the Mail & Guardian has it that two factions have emerged within renewed succession debate ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in 2017.
Factions in the ruling party this week confirmed that the election results have reignited the succession debate ahead of the party’s 2017 elective conference.
One faction throws its weight around Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the next president of the organization, with current Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, as her deputy, while Sports Minister, Mbalula, would replace Gwede Mantashe as secretary general.
This group believes that Dlamini-Zuma as party president would best bridge the transition between the old and the new guard – but, after this, they would want Gigaba to take over the reins.
“When you have a society that is young, the organization needs to be young. We need new ideas to reposition the organisation,” said ANC Youth League secretary general Njabulo Nzuza, confirming that Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, would also have a senior role within this faction.
Nzuza mentioned Mbalula, Gigaba, Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Mzwandile Masina (who is also the ANC’s Ekurhuleni mayoral candidate) and ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair Sihle Zikalala as some of the young leaders who were ready to lead the ANC.
Meanwhile, the other faction want to see members of the so-called ‘premier league’ including Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza, North West premier Supra Mahumapelo and Free State premier Ace Magashule take up senior roles.
The faction wants Mabuza to become deputy president, while Magashule becomes ANC chairperson, M&G paper reported, adding that it spoke to five senior ANC leaders – three NEC members and two provincial executive committee members – who confirmed the push to find younger leaders to play a bigger role within the organization.
Both Gigaba and Mbalula once served as youth league presidents. They have also served in the ANC’s national working committee and on the NEC.
Meanwhile Gigaba’s spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete, declined from discussing succession issues because the process of nominating leaders was not yet open. Mbalula refused to comment, the ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair Sihle Zikalala said that the intention of bringing younger people into the leadership structure is valid.
A senior government official, asked about party discussion involving the new generation, said: “The generational mix of Mbalula, Malusi, Zikalala and Makhura is dynamic. They can work well together.”
However, the ruling party’s national executive committee is expected to meet in Pretoria this weekend to discuss the election results and the role coalition process plays in the growth of the party.
The inclusion of Gigaba as a potential deputy president and Mbalula as secretary general is expected to cause divisions in Dlamini-Zuma’s faction, which is largely driven by the “premier league”. If this faction gets its way, Mabuza would be the deputy president and Magashule chairperson.
Committee members are also expected to discuss the EFF’s demand for the ANC to remove Zuma in exchange for its support to retain the key metros.