Johannesburg – Some leaders in the African National Congress are considering a change in tact when it comes to its highly contested succession debate.
This came after the ANC admitted that factions and slate politics were tearing the party apart. It’s due to elect new leaders in December when President Jacob Zuma steps down as its president.
ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, speaking to News24 during its 5th National Elective Conference said the time had come to consider open contestation.
“There are now suggestions that we need to open this up but the people who are nominated must not be lobbied for by people who are doing it on an underground basis, they must be dealt with openly,” said Mkhize.
Using the dominant party in Tanzania, Chama Cha Mapinduzi example, he said those who want to contest must come out and “then they look at them and they say: ‘Well we don’t think that your image is such that you will be good for the organisation, so you can’t go in,'” as a vetting system for potential candidates.
He admitted that this would be a break in the 105 year old movement’s traditions, but that those who seek to be nominated could be called out and engaged.
“Let’s talk to them and understand what they are all about but what I think is good on this discussion is that it’s actually trying to avoid a sense of anonymity in the way that people get to be proposed,” he said.
North West Chairperson Supra Mahumapelo said his province was already seeking a different way to deal the December National Elective Conference. In a conversation with News24, he said a consensus was best.
“We must find a way of creating a consensus among provinces on who, especially, must be president of the ANC and the top seven and the top nine,” said Mahumapelo.
“People have the right to contest but contestation can be costly politically,” he said.
Our view is that we must avoid that route even if it’s democratic, let’s engage and agree, added Mahumapelo.
North West Premier Mahumapelo said his province had not resolved on a name but that it agreed with the ANC Women’s League that it was time for a female leader, in principle.
“The ANC has been in existence for 105 years and it believes in pursuing and building a non-sexist society. ANC must answer a difficult question – whether it’s correct for as an organisation that pursues a non-sexist society for not having a president and secretary general for over 105 of its existence, but it pursues non sexism,” said Mahumapelo.
Top official position
When asked about Cyril Ramaphosa, he said anyone who was over the age 18 and had been a member of the party in good standing for more than 10 years was entitled to contest for the position of deputy president.
“What we must say is we want to exercise that right that is in the constitution everybody must have the right to stand,” he said.
Mahumapelo said he was not available for any top official position, adding that he did not want to be directly voted into national executive committee.
“I explained to branches last week that when my term ends in 2019 and I am not re-elected I want to go back to ward 12 – that’s my branch in Mafikeng; want to focus on two things political education and making sure that we do campaigns on the ground.”
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