The ANC’s head of elections Fikile Mbalula says Deputy President David Mabuza has been “called to order” by the governing party after he said he would stand for re-election as the ANC’s second in command at their 2022 national elective conference.
Mbalula on Monday said party members who spoke about leadership positions ahead of the ANC’s 55th national congress were jumping the gun because the party was currently focused on campaigning for the 1 November municipal elections.
He said talk around the ANC’s succession debate was therefore premature at this stage.
“We have called him [Mabuza] to order and everybody involved with that discussion. We are not there. We will have the whole year to discuss leadership,” Mbalula said, speaking to the media at St George’s Hotel in Irene, Centurion.
“So anyone who has got an uncontrollable desire for power and decides to basically speak about leadership, they are completely off the rail,” he added.
‘I’ve never imposed myself in this position’
While campaigning for the ANC in Tshwane late last month, Mabuza confirmed to the media that he would run again for the ANC deputy presidency.
This was despite speculation that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s faction was considering dropping Mabuza as his deputy due to concerns about his health.
Mabuza spent more than a month in Russia this year for what was referred to as a “medical consultation” amid growing internal challenges facing the ANC and the civil unrest that rocked parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July.
Though he intends to stand for re-election, Mabuza reiterated that he would not do so without his party’s blessing.
“I never imposed myself in this position, I was elected – elected by the people, they said I must come and serve. It will be the same, I’ll never impose myself, if they say I must run, I’ll run again.
“If they say ‘no, we’ve got another candidate’, I’ll accept it because the will of the majority must always be respected,” he said.
Mathews Phosa to challenge Ramaphosa?
Meanwhile, City Press reported at the weekend that the ANC’s so-called radical economic transformation (RET) faction is searching for a presidential candidate to challenge Ramaphosa at the 2022 conference set for December.
The paper cited ANC insiders who claimed the RET faction wanted to nominate businessman and former ANC treasurer-general, Mathews Phosa, as a possible candidate.
Phosa has apparently not accepted nor rejected the faction’s overtures and his name is said to be bandied about in a secret RET forces WhatsApp group called VukaDarkie (wake up black person).
Contacted for comment on this, Phosa denied that the RET faction wanted him as their presidential candidate, saying the succession debate was “very premature”.
“I’m enjoying my business and I’m not speaking to anyone. The RET or whoever hasn’t approached me,” he was quoted as saying.
Additional reporting by Gareth Cotterell