PIET RAMPEDI and KARABO NGOEPE
LIMPOPO Premier and ANC chairperson Stan Mathabatha says his province may entertain the idea of having the losing presidential contender automatically becoming a party deputy president at the elective conference in
Mathabatha says while he can’t say with certainty that Limpopo would accept the proposal, such a compromise deal must be the first and last, should it happen.
However, North-West ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo and Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) leader Kebby Maphatsoe have rejected the proposal out of hand, saying such “leadership by arrangement” would undermine the power of branches to elect leadership.
The proposal, tabled informally by ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala and supported by President
Jacob Zuma, would see presidential contenders Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Dr Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma being retained as a deputy in a move designed to unify the ruling party after the conference.
Speaking to African Times on the side-lines of the ANC national policy conference on Tuesday evening, Mathabatha said while Limpopo has not yet reflected on that proposal, it was worth entertaining on condition the reasons for it are properly outlined and convincing.
“As a province surely we didn’t engage on that matter, but we are of the view that it can be entertained. We can talk about it,” Mathabatha said.
“I can’t say as a province we will accept it. Bu we will have to have a way in which we are not making it a precedent, a standard practice in which in every conference, if you have two contestants, one who loses becomes a deputy. It should not be precedential that we will open up another can of worms. ”
Mathabatha, who is seen as a Ramaphosa ally, says specific conditions would have to be set for such a deal so that it doesn’t become a “blank cheque”.
While he understands the need for unity, says Mathabatha, he doesn’t believe that keeping Ramaphosa or Dlamini-Zuma as ANC deputy president should they lose would guarantee it.
This is because factionalism is a reality in the ANC and it has been caused by “different variables” including deployment and failure by the leadership to implement some policies.
“That issue alone, I am not convinced, now, where I am sitting, that it will bring unity into the ANC,” said Mathabatha.
However, some of Zuma’s allies including Mahumapelo and Maphatsoe say the proposal is not workable because it
effectively promotes leadership by arrangement.
“The MKMVA will not support that. If you contest, you can’t expect that when you fall you automatically becomes a deputy. The branches of the ANC will decide who becomes the president and the deputy president. It can’t be something that is factional. If you lose, you lose,” said Maphatsoe.
“You can’t reserve positions for some people in the organisation. But it is up to the structures as to how their take will be. The most important thing for all of us to learn, internalise and live with the outcomes of democratic processes of the ANC,” he added.