Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
- Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

The ANC in the Western Cape looks set to back Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over as party president.

The ANC’s nomination process for leadership positions is under way and the race for the presidency is seen as a shootout between Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Jacob Zuma’s former wife and preferred successor.

According to a list drawn up by pro-Ramaphosa members in the Western Cape, the deputy president should take over the presidency, with Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu assuming the deputy presidency. Sisulu is one of seven presidential hopefuls.

The list includes secretary-general Gwede Mantashe as national chairman, former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu as general secretary, SABC board candidate Febe Potgieter-Gqubule as deputy general secretary and Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile as treasurer-general.

While some within the ANC in the Western Cape oppose the list, party sources in the province said at the weekend that the overwhelming majority of members backed Ramaphosa to take over as president.

"This is the list which will be presented to the branches … there may be revisions but the general feeling in the province is that Ramaphosa should take over as president," said one party insider who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Another insider said the pro-Dlamini-Zuma faction was weakened after the suspension of provincial leader and Zuma backer Marius Fransman earlier in 2017. He was suspended for five years.

The provincial executive, which is said to be now firmly behind Ramaphosa, has been accused of wanting to dictate which delegates from the province will be sent to the ANC’s elective conference in December. This has further divided the party.

The ANC in the province has been rocked by division and infighting in recent years, which has cost the party dearly at the polls, with the DA increasing its majority in the province. The latest infighting has been seen as a proxy battle in the race for the ANC presidency between Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma.

Provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs did not confirm or deny the authenticity of the proposed list. He said it would be up to the branches to decide.

The party’s 350 branches will be called on to select delegates to represent the province at the conference.

By sheer weight of numbers, KwaZulu-Natal is the most influential province in the ANC, while the Western Cape is the second smallest after the Northern Cape.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za

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