NEWS ANALYSIS: How Mpumalanga made a new king for the ANC
Chairman David Mabuza’s precise role in Cyril Ramaphosa’s ascension is unclear — but the province was indisputably the key player in the outcome
The Mpumalanga ANC played a key role in Cyril Ramaphosa's victory over Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, announced on Monday. It took months and months of wrangling and lobbying, scenario planning and number crunching by the provincial chairman to get to this point. It started with identifying a chink in the armour of the numerically superior faction aligned to President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma and his backers control the largest ANC provinces - mainly KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. It emerged that Mpumalanga would bring the second-largest delegation to the conference. Ramaphosa's backers had to turn over large chunks of these two provinces. They had Senzo Mchunu and Bheki Cele working KwaZulu-Natal but needed an entry into Mpumalanga. Enter David Mabuza, the Mpumalanga chairman with an iron-clad grip on his province, who was solidly part of the so-called "premier league" but recognised after the 2016 election that the ANC was in trouble. He was also massively uncomfortable with the rising...