Paul Mashatile. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Paul Mashatile. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa might be the frontrunner in the presidential race‚ but Gauteng ANC chairman Paul Mashatile has warned that the situation could change.

Mashatile was speaking on Friday in Johannesburg on the sidelines of the launch of United Royal Kingships Holdings‚ an initiative by traditional leaders to create jobs and boost small businesses for people in rural areas.

He said that although certain branches of the ANC had announced their slates‚ with Ramaphosa being their preferred next leader‚ branches could sing a different tune when they vote at the elective conference in December.

"Well‚ branches have started nominating and some of them have nominated comrade Nkosazana [Dlamini-Zuma] and some of them have announced comrade Zweli [Mkhize]. There are different names that are coming up [so] there’s still time to further engage because we are going to have PGCs [provincial general councils]‚" said Mashatile.

Two months ago he said Gauteng was backing Ramaphosa to lead the party after President Jacob Zuma’s term comes to an end in December.

Mashatile told journalists that other provincial leaders would be invited to Gauteng’s general council to unify talks in a bid to decide on a single list of leaders for the ANC’s top positions.

The general council meetings are likely to take place after the party’s national executive committee meeting later this month.

Mashatile suggested it was too early to say who would be the next leader of the ANC.

"As branches nominate‚ it will become clear who is a frontrunner‚ but we will only know at the end of the process‚" he said.

Commenting on the recent public announcement of his slate‚ Mashatile reiterated that Ramaphosa’s move was uncalled for.

"It’s not correct to have slates. We don’t want a slate and a winner-takes-all approach. We want a team that is united.

"We have engaged with him and he also understands [and] that is why he issued a statement stating that he was not necessarily putting a slate‚ he was just throwing in names that were coming out … he accepted that it could have been interpreted that way‚" said Mashatile.

Earlier this month‚ Ramaphosa announced his running mates at a rally in Sekhukhuneland‚ Limpopo.

He named Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor as his deputy‚ former KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Senzo Mchunu as secretary-general‚ Gwede Mantashe as national chairman and Mashatile as treasurer-general.

The ANC’s elective conference, set for December 16-20, is expected to be attended by 5,240 delegates.

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