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

Long-time ANC Mpumalanga chairperson David “DD” Mabuza has taken the second-highest position in the party, after being elected its deputy president.

He beat Lindiwe Sisulu by a relatively comfortable 2,538 votes to 2,159 - or 54% to 46%.

Mabuza had the overwhelming majority of support from branches ahead of the conference and was expected to grab the position no matter who won the presidential race. He has been running his provincial ANC structures with an iron fist.

Ahead of the Nasrec conference, he even tried to convince branch members not to exercise their democratic right to nominate a party president and instead spoil their ballot by voting for "unity". This benefited only him, not the rank and file of the ANC.

He has been playing both sides of the race for the presidency of the party, refusing to openly throw his weight behind Cyril Ramaphosa or Dlamini-Zuma. However, on the eve of the conference, Mabuza appeared at the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma caucus and was said to have told delegates from his province to give their vote to the former African Union Commission chairperson.

A teacher turned politician, Mabuza started his political career as secretary of the Azanian Students Organisation from 1984 to 1985.

Mabuza has been a provincial premier since 2009 and a member of the provincial legislature since 1994. A teacher turned politician, Mabuza started his political career as secretary of the Azanian Students Organisation from 1984 to 1985. He was also a South African Democratic Teachers Union chairperson for three years.

Mabuza was elected an ANC regional chairperson in 1994 and, in 1998, joined the party’s Mpumalanga provincial executive committee.

He was seen to be part of the so-called premier league, which was once a strong lobby group in the ANC. The premier league comprised ANC leaders from the North West, Mpumalanga and Free State, but the alliance crumbled over the past year. The biggest rift was seemingly around the Gupta family and its hold on President Jacob Zuma and various state institutions.

North West ANC chairperson and premier Supra Mahumapelo and Free State chairperson and premier Ace Magashule have defended the family, but Mabuza is said to be wary of the Guptas — particularly after the announcement by former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas that the family had offered him the post of finance minister.

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