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Picture: MIKE HUTCHINGS/REUTERS
Picture: MIKE HUTCHINGS/REUTERS

The ANC Sekhukhune region in Limpopo has declared its support for President Cyril Ramaphosa to serve a second term as party leader.

Sekhukhune regional secretary Mathope Tala chanted “Heita second term heita”‚ to cheers from the crowd when he welcomed Ramaphosa at a party event on Wednesday.

Speaking to TimesLIVE on Wednesday‚ Tala said Sekhukhune was unwavering in its support for the re-election of Ramaphosa. “We are saying that when we march towards conference‚ our view is not a secret as the region of Sekhukhune. The president must be given a second chance‚” Tala told TimesLIVE.

He said Ramaphosa had done well to stabilise the seemingly disunited ANC and should be given an opportunity to continue with that objective.

It was under Ramaphosa’s leadership that the party implemented the step-aside resolution, which saw party leaders facing corruption or criminal charges‚ including secretary-general Ace Magashule‚ removed from their positions.

This‚ Tala said‚ including the ability to do an honest self-introspection of the party‚ was one of the leadership qualities the party needed.

“One of the things that makes us proud to be associated with the president is that unlike other leaders‚ comrade president was able to be bold enough where he thinks as the ANC we did not do well‚ he was able to accept and you can only improve‚” he said.

Ramaphosa’s first term has been turbulent and characterised by‚ among other things‚ the Covid-19 pandemic‚ record unemployment‚ the July unrest‚ the burning of parliament and internal party squabbles. He presided over the ANC’s worst electoral performance since the end of apartheid‚ securing just 46% of the national vote in the 2021 local government elections.

The decline in support led to the loss of some of the country’s richest metropolitan municipalities.

Despite all this‚ the Sekhukhune region believes only Ramaphosa can save the party.

“Look‚ when you are sick‚ for you to be assisted by doctors you must first acknowledge or accept that you are not well so you can be given medication. The president was able to say there were shortcomings and this is how we are planning to correct them. For us that is good enough. If you can admit where you did not do well‚ that gives you time and opportunity to correct and be a better person.”

The ANC has not officially opened the nominations process, with the Sekhukhune region running the risk of being hauled over the coals for jumping the gun.

Tala has‚ however‚ said their stance was merely preparation for when the process officially opens.

“We are not jumping the gun‚ all we are saying is that everything you do‚ you need to be prepared. We think this president has done well and we need to start affirming it. In our own assessment as a region‚ we think the president has done well and it’s within our own right as the region to affirm the president as per how we see it‚” he said.

“We will wait for the ANC NEC [national executive committee] to allow us that space and what we are saying is that once that thing has been opened officially then we will criss-cross the length and breadth meeting other regions to persuade them to give comrade Cyril another chance.”

The region‚ according to Tala‚ is so adamant about Ramaphosa’s second term that it has started making plans to lobby other regions and provinces to support their view.

“I wouldn’t speak on behalf of other regions‚ but what I think we are going to be doing as the region of Sekhukhune we will persuade‚ engage when the time is right‚ we will meet other regions‚ both in the province and nationally. For example‚ we are neighbours of Nkangala region in Mpumalanga [and will] even go as far as Gauteng to say let’s give comrade Ramaphosa another chance to conclude the good work that he has done in the ANC.”​

TimesLIVE

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