David Mabuza. Picture: MASI LOSI
David Mabuza. Picture: MASI LOSI

In a blow to the faction aligned to President Jacob Zuma, the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) has decided not — as yet — to dissolve the ANC’s Eastern Cape structure, which is backing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for party president.

And in another knock, ally and deputy president on Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s slate, Mpumalanga chairman David Mabuza, spoke out in the NEC against the Eastern Cape structure being dissolved, departing from the position held by his faction.

Mabuza, together with Free State premier Ace Magashule and North West premier Supra Mahumapelo have long been the kingpins of the Zuma faction in the governing party. Zuma allies raised the dissolution of the ANC Eastern Cape provincial executive committee in the early stages of the ANC special NEC meeting, which kicked off on Saturday.

That agenda item came to dominate the three-day meeting, which was also scheduled to discuss preparations for the December elective conference. Zuma backers believe that retaining the Eastern Cape’s newly elected ANC leadership could lead to a defeat for Dlamini-Zuma at the December elective conference.

Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa are the two main contenders in the close race to succeed Zuma as ANC president at the national conference.

The Zuma faction has fought hard to ensure that the Eastern Cape structure — led by Ramaphosa ally Oscar Mabuyane — was dissolved. An initial national working committee report presented to the meeting was rejected and this body was asked to rework it.

The smaller leadership structure then refined the document and the NEC meeting resumed on Monday morning.

The decision was that instead of dissolving the provincial leadership structure, a task team would be set up comprising four NEC members and three administrators to hear the complaints by those disputing the outcome of the Eastern Cape conference. It is understood that Mabuza coming out to oppose the dissolution of the structure caused some consternation among the president’s backers.

It is also understood that while the Zuma faction does not want secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to oversee preparations for the December elective conference, the matter was not directly raised during this weekend’s NEC meeting.


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