Senzo Mchunu. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Senzo Mchunu. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Former KwaZulu-Natal premier, Senzo Mchunu, has again endorsed deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma as the party’s leader.

He also rejected Zuma’s suggestion that to end factionalism in the party, the losing candidate should automatically become deputy president of the ANC.

Mchunu spoke on Thursday evening at an Oliver Tambo Memorial Lecture organised by the Young Communist League in Umzinto on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast. He was welcomed by scores of people who sang songs to the effect that Ramaphosa must come to the ANC’s rescue. The event was also attended by many branch and regional leaders.

Two weeks ago the ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC) stripped the ANC Lower South Coast’s regional executive committee of its powers. This was seen by regional leaders as a way of thwarting its campaign to see Ramaphosa elected ANC president. The region has since appealed against the PEC decision to ANC general secretary, Gwede Mantashe.

Mchunu told his audience, many of which were clad in ANC colours, that he believed Ramaphosa should assume the presidency of the party not only because he was currently its deputy president, but also because he was a tried and tested leader of the party who had made great contribution to the struggle and to building a post-apartheid society.

Mchunu said he was working with his branch in Empangeni to ensure that Ramaphosa won the ANC leadership race during the ANC’s elective conference in December. Ramaphosa is expected to face-off against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and possibly several other contenders for the ANC’s top post.

"I believe that Cyril Ramaphosa should be the president of the ANC in December. I am working with my branch. I urge other comrades who believe in Ramaphosa, and other leadership collectives, to go to their branch and make a strong case," Mchunu said.

He also said Ramaphosa enjoyed significant support in KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces across the country. "I don’t agree with those who say to end factionalism, the losing ANC presidential candidate must be a deputy president. I don’t think that is right. If there are problems of factionalism in the ANC, deal directly with them."

According to Mchunu, the ANC was hurting itself and would eventually die if corruption, vote-buying and mismanagement and inefficiency in government inefficiency were not dealt with decisively, and that Ramaphosa’s elevation would also help rectify the tainted image of the party. "Comrades, we can’t be a nation of fraudsters or corrupt people."

He called for the commission of enquiry into the state capture to be established speedily.

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