At least three election slates for the leadership roles of the ANC are doing the rounds – though the party would prefer if they didn’t exist at all.
According to the Huffington Post SA, which has seen messages and strings of the lists, the three slates contain the expected division between deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa- and AU chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma-led groupings, but also purport to reveal the ANC Youth League’s “surprise” nomination.
The first set of slates was published in the Gupta-owned New Age newspapers earlier this week, which was quickly dismissed and condemned by the ANC.
However, the Huffinton Post reports that new slates are doing the rounds, appearing in the form of instant messages – all of which are unofficial – circulated among factions for discussion.
These are the reported slates:
- President – Cyril Ramaphosa
- Deputy – Jeff Radebe
- Not specified: Thandi Modise, Zweli Mkhize
The first slate is incomplete, with deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa in the top job, and minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe as his deputy.
A surprising mention in the slate is that of ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize, who has been seen as a rather neutral and unifying element in the party.
- President – Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
- Deputy – Ace Magashule
- Secretary General – Supra Mahumapelo
- National Chairperson – David Mabuza
The second slate is also incomplete; it lists the so-called ‘premier league’, who would all make up the top positions in the party, with AU chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as president, the Huffington Post SA reported.
The ANC Women’s league has already endorsed Dlamini-Zuma as president, and has also called for more women to be represented in the top six. However this was not represented in this slate.
It has been long speculated that Dlamini-Zuma is the preferred candidate of president Jacob Zuma and his supporters within the party – a position further entrenched by recent comments from Zuma that the ANC is ready for a female leader.
- President – Ace Magashule
- Deputy – Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
- Secretary General – Sihle Zikalala
- Deputy SG – Nomvula Mokonyane
- Treasurer – Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
- National Chairperson – David Mabuza
The ANC Youth League, while not revealing its preferred candidate, has said that its preferred candidate would be a ‘surprise’ and would rock South African politics, pushing a more radical agenda.
The third slate seen by the Huffington Post SA purports to reveal this mystery candidate as Free State premier Ace Magashule, with Dlamini-Zuma as his deputy. The messages circulating with this slate reportedly call it a “compromise” list.
ANC dismisses slate politics
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa this week dismissed the slates, saying they were not official and were coming from various leagues and factions in the party.
The party itself has spoken out on a number occasions against so-called ‘slate politics’, saying that it was divisive and against the party’s policies.
Secretary general Gwede Mantashe has criticised the ANC Women’s League and Cosatu for having endorsed candidates (Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa, respectively), saying that such talk was premature and fueled divisions at a time the party was calling for unity.
President Zuma, too, has weighed in on succession talk, saying that it was still too early to be discussing who would take over his position.
But despite trying to play down anyone taking sides, both Zuma and Mantashe have fueled speculation themselves.
On separate occasions, the two party leads made it clear that there was no tradition of a deputy president succeeding the president at elective conferences, stymieing Ramaphosa supporters’ hopes of a clear line to the presidency.
While Mantashe said that the jump from deputy to president was open to debate – and that the debate must be had openly – Zuma went on a different line, and, on public radio, spoke extensively about the ANC’s readiness for a female leader.
This was seen by many as a tacit endorsement for Dlamini-Zuma.
The ANC will hold its elective conference in December 2017, but will only open up the succession debate after its consultative and policy conferencing around the middle of the year.
Analysts expect a full picture of the candidates who will be contesting the leadership of the party by October 2017.