As the ANC presidential race begins, former AU chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is lobbying the party Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe to join her in the race as her deputy.
The Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma camp allegedly approached the (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to be her deputy president.
Seeing that the secretary-general stands as one of the top figures in the ANC leadership, who through his influence could make or mare the political leadership of any contesting candidate in the ANC presidential race, Dlamini and her supporters sought to have him on their side by offering him the position of deputy President.
BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that Mantashe and the likes of the Free State premier and provincial chairperson Ace Magashule are some of those having a position on Dlamini-Zuma’s list as her camp looks at consolidating a “unity” ballot that they hope will be more appealing than the lists of other presidential candidates.
KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala and some of his colleagues reportedly met with Gwede Mantashe in the past two weeks to convince him to join the former AU president’s camp ahead of the ANC presidential race.
Though Zikalala denied meeting the secretary-general on the basis of wooing him to their side, Mantashe reportedly turned down the offer saying he would prefer serving under the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s camp.
Zikalala, confirmed their meeting with Mantashe but noted that their talks were just a “consultation” that would inform formal discussion once the “process” starts.
We had no ‘bargaining’ for positions had taken place, comrades were only engaging one another, he said while denying further that Mantashe turned them down.
Mantashe also said to the press that the engagement did not necessarily amount to “bargaining” for positions, but was merely “looking at various permutations”. “There is no bargaining, [but] comrades are engaging one another,” he said.
Being informed about Magashule’s inclusion in Dlamini-Zuma’s list, Mantashe apparently turned down the offer because of his weariness in serving with Magashule who is allegedly close to the controversial Gupta family.
Zikalala said he had numerous engagements with Mantashe in his capacity as secretary-general of the ANC. “My view has always been about persuading comrades on the question of unity and that all comrades must come together and unite and then focus on that unity,” he said.
“Our key strategic approach towards the national conference is around unity, uncompromisingly advancing radical economic transformation and rooting out factionalism and corruption.”
Meanwhile, as the ANC presidential race draws near, a source in the inner circle confirmed Zuma agreeing to a meeting that it supports Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. “They have to go out and find other people,” the source said.
Dlamini- Zuma is also looking at enlisting Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe as a potential deputy. The Proposal prompted questions as Redebe and herself are both from the same province.
“But the counter-argument was that the ANC is a unitary organization and it is not defined by provinces,” he said.
Dlamini-Zuma used the last weekend to embark on a door-to-door visit to the Hammanskraal residents where she and handed over a new home to 134-year-old Johanna Ramatse, along with the controversial pastor Paseka Mboro in Stinkwater.
Though her moves were criticized as politically related and as a campaign for her position as new SA President, the former AU chair denied this saying wasn’t electioneering.
They may say it, but they’ll be mischievous because whenever I’ve been in South Africa I’ve been everywhere. Even when I was at Home Affairs I use to go around to all the offices whenever I can. I didn’t join the ANC for 2019.”
Zuma declared his support for his ex-wife to succeed him as President, saying it was the time African National Congress elected a woman leader.
Mr. Zuma said the 67, former AU chair who is also an active politician in the country, is highly qualified to take over control of the ruling party and the country, 74, said on SABC state radio.