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ANC’s next president: Anti-Ramaphosa faction in frantic talks to present a united front

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By News24.com

  • There is a frantic attempt by the anti-Cyril Ramaphosa faction to have presidency hopefuls fall under one slate. 
  • Lindiwe Sisulu’s camp held meetings with the teams of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Zweli Mkhize. 
  • Dlamini-Zuma’s lobbyist, Wendy Wotsetse, insists the only position available for Sisulu is contesting for chairperson.

The grouping opposed to President Cyril Ramaphosa have been involved in frantic talks, with those vying for the ANC’s top job trying to convince each other not to contest the ANC presidency.

Presidential hopefuls Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Lindiwe Sisulu’s campaign teams held a follow-up meeting on Tuesday after an initial meeting last week.

During the latest meeting, the two teams again tried to agree as to who would be the presidential candidate and the deputy. They also sought to finalise preferred candidates to make up the rest of the slate.

Speaking to News24 on Thursday, Dlamini-Zuma’s lobbyist, Wendy Wotsetse, confirmed it was not Sisulu and Dlamini-Zuma who had met on Tuesday, but the campaign teams.

She said that, for Dlamini-Zuma’s camp, only the chairperson position was available for Sisulu and “nothing else”.

“It is not true that we have agreed to listen to who the branches have voted for during their general meetings. The only thing on offer is the chairperson position for Sisulu, as NDZ [Dlamini-Zuma] is already our preferred candidate for president.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Lindiwe Sisulu

“At the same time, Paul Mashatile is our preferred candidate for deputy president. We are not moving from this position and want to clarify that,” said Wotsetse.

 

Samwu’s Eastern Cape regional secretary, Luthando Juju, who was part of those who facilitated Tuesday’s meeting, said the consensus was that the two teams agreed to working together, but “who will be [candidate for] president was still under discussion”.

“As unions that facilitated this marriage, we agree the current status quo needs to be dealt away with – and, at least working together, these women have the pedigree and enough combined experience to challenge and displace the current leadership.

“Under [ANC president] Ramaphosa, the application of the step-aside rule has been implemented in a biased manner. Despite the serious charges that the incumbent faces, he has not been asked by the integrity commission to step aside as has been done to others,” said Juju.

READ | Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Lindiwe Sisulu striking deal in crusade to lead the ANC

A source within Sisulu’s camp confirmed that another meeting was scheduled for Sunday, at which the two teams were expected to discuss “the creation of war rooms”, from which the coordinated campaign would take shape.

News24 understands that, besides the meeting with Dlamini-Zuma, Sisulu on Thursday met with another presidential hopeful, Zweli Mkhize.

The meeting was a platform for the two presidential hopefuls to convince each other on whether a partnership would benefit their cause, instead of going against each other.

Mkhize’s camp, which has the backing of KwaZulu-Natal, is convinced that Sisulu and Dlamini-Zuma will not be a threat come the elective conference in December because they have not garnered support from any province.

With former president Jacob Zuma’s medical parole having ended on Thursday, there is a growing expectation that he will be more involved as to which candidate will receive the support of the radical economic transformation faction.

The former president is said to have been unhappy with the KZN ANC’s decision to endorse Mkhize for the presidency and Mashatile as deputy.

Mashatile was at the forefront of Zuma’s removal from office at the height of state capture allegations.