ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, right, with former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: SIBUSISO MSIBI
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, right, with former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: SIBUSISO MSIBI

The ANC’s task-team to lead the North West province into the key 2019 national election is a mixed bag of the warring factions in the province, which includes ousted chair Supra Mahumapelo, as well as a few of his opponents who were sidelined during his reign.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule announced the 32-member task-team, selected following a national working committee meeting, at a media briefing on Thursday.  Mahumapelo was removed as the North West premier in May after a wave of protests against him — mostly by ANC members in the province.

The provincial executive committee, which he chairs, was dissolved at the end of August.

Mahumapelo and Magashule have been linked to a plot to oust President Cyril Ramaphosa — the pair, according to the Sunday Times, met former president Jacob Zuma in Durban two weeks ago to discuss their plans.

At the union federation Cosatu congress this week, Ramaphosa  took a hardline stance against those involved in the "plot", describing them as “counter-revolutionary", and saying their machinations were "intended to weaken the ANC”. He questioned the agenda of the plotters, as Magashule sat in the front row of the gathering listening to his address.  

Performance worries

Magashule admitted on Thursday that the ANC was worried about the party’s performance in the province in 2019, which prompted it to “bring together” the warring factions ahead of the polls. The ANC’s electoral support in the province has been steadily declining; it posted heavy losses in the 2016 local government election, when its support dropped to 59% from a high of 75% in the 2011 local government election.  

Business Day understands there are concerns over Mahumapelo’s appointment on the team, however, there is also a “sizable number” of his opponents who supported Ramaphosa in the run-up to the ANC’s national conference in December. This includes hardliners in support of Mahumapelo, such as Susan Dantjie, but also key Ramaphosa allies, such as Philly Mapulane. Outspoken Mahumapelo critic China Dodovu has also been included on the task-team.

There are also concerns that all but one of the eight national executive committee (NEC) members assigned to oversee the work of the task-team are linked to the Zuma, Magashule and Mahumapelo faction.

Magashule said the task-team will focus on the “transition period” until new leaders can be elected for the province and also oversee preparations for the election during the duration of their work, which should last nine months.

When asked about the alleged plot to oust the president, Magashule said there was no such thing, but added that the ANC would deal with the allegations internally.