Tag Archives: Fikile Mbalula

South Africa – Captura Continua: Will the Guptas determine the ANC succession race?

Daily Maverick (South Africa)

    • Ranjeni Munusamy
      ranjeni munusami BW



Three weeks after the Guptas’ private email correspondence began cascading into the public domain, revealing the depth of the capture of the South African state, we are yet to see outrage and a fightback from the ANC. The party elected to govern by South African people, but now essentially cuckolded by the Guptas, has shown it is powerless against the family. The Guptas appear to be still pushing buttons behind the scenes and their main focus is to ensure that they stack the deck at the ANC’s 54th national conference, mostly to secure their new Number One. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY. 20

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has publicly accepted nomination for the position of ANC president, making her the first woman in the history of the 105-year-old organisation to contest the top leadership post. But far from this being a notable moment in history, it is the occasion for despair. Dlamini-Zuma has, without reservation, consented to becoming top of the ticket sponsored by the Gupta family. 31

Up to this point, one could still give Dlamini-Zuma the benefit of the doubt that she was simply riding the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) wave and would distinguish herself from the Gupta herd. But last week the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) announced its leadership slate, the first ANC structure to do so formally. 27

“Comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the president of the ANC, comrade David Mabuza as the deputy president of the ANC, Comrade Ace Magashule as the secretary general of the ANC, Comrade Nathi Mthethwa as the national chair of the ANC, DSG for monitoring and evaluation Comrade Jessie Duarte, DSG for organising and campaigns Comrade Fikile Mbalula and the treasurer general Comrade Maite Nkoana-Mashabane,” ANCYL secretary general Njabulo Nzuza announced at a media briefing following their national executive committee meeting. 29

The ANCWL’s endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma and declaration that it wanted more women in the top leadership of the party at least had the veneer of punting the gender ticket. There was no such effort by the ANCYL. Mbalula, a former ANCYL president, was nominated for a position that does not even exist constitutionally in the ANC. Besides, Mbalula is now 46 years old and can hardly qualify as a “youthful” candidate in the leadership race. The second youngest person on the ANCYL slate is Mthethwa, who at 50 years old is hardly a spring chicken himself. 24

So what is the Youth League up to? And why is Dlamini-Zuma such a willing participant in this agenda? 7

In January ANCYL president Collen Maine indicated that their choice of presidential candidate would send “shockwaves” throughout the ruling party. 12

“These candidates who have been mentioned are part of the system. They have been part of the system we want to change. We need bold leadership. We need a second revolution that will cause ruptures in the economy,” Maine told Reuters back then. 36

Either Maine overestimated the impact of their endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma or their hand was forced to change the “shockwave” candidate they had in mind. There was also talk a few months ago that the ANCYL slate would include Malusi Gigaba, now the finance minister, and Mbalula, for top posts. Clearly that did not materialise. 19

The #GuptaLeaks exposed that Maine was being scripted by the family’s PR firm Bell Pottinger to further their manufactured white monopoly capital narrative. 29

So what else are Maine and his organisation doing on behalf of the Guptas? 19

Since the release of their emails, there have been no public moves by the Guptas. They have gone to ground and not responded publicly to any of the revelations against them. Clearly the family does not believe their ecosystem has been significantly disturbed by the revelations or the reaction to them. 25

While Gigaba and his public enterprises counterpart Lynne Brown are floundering to keep their heads above water, the people who should be most affected by the leak of the tranche of emails are manoeuvring from their place of seclusion. They are doing what they do best – arranging the political playing field to protect themselves and advance the interests of their business empire. 37

There are two positions in the ANC leadership that the Guptas need in particular to keep their project on track: president and secretary general. The ANCYL slate stitches that up for them. 21

President Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane have been worthwhile investments for the family – both performing as lead marionettes in the Gupta extravaganza. But when Zuma ceases to be ANC president, his power diminishes and he would become a lame duck in the state. Duduzane will then be expendable – unless he is able to act as middleman to the successor as well. 19

Enter Dlamini-Zuma, his stepmother and willing advocate of the “radical economic transformation” narrative that Duduzane and Bell Pottinger conjured up. 26

There have been many moments in the chaos of this year when the former African Union Commission chairperson could have distanced herself from the chaos of the Zuma presidency. If hers was to be a clean, capture-free presidency, the most obvious move would have been to put fresh air between herself from Zuma’s disastrous midnight Cabinet reshuffle. After all, as a potential president, Dlamini-Zuma would inherit the consequences of that suicidal move – a downgraded and junked economy. Surely it would make sense to separate herself from that mess. 32

It would also have been logical for Dlamini-Zuma to distance herself from the stench of the Gupta emails, especially considering they had nothing to do with her. The campaign of her main competitor, Cyril Ramaphosa, has been significantly strengthened by him speaking out against state capture and repeatedly calling for a judicial commission of inquiry into the mounting allegations. Ramaphosa’s campaign has morphed into an anti-corruption ticket basically by him stating the obvious: a full-scale, credible investigation is required. 30

But Dlamini-Zuma is doing no such thing. She is not making any effort to separate herself from the capture contagion. Clearly it serves her agenda. 41

The secretary general position is essential to control the functioning of the ANC. While the Guptas might not have captured Gwede Mantashe, his erraticism and volatility did not do much to protect the ANC from their influence. But the Guptas did have a handy insider in the office of the ANC secretary general in the form of Mantashe’s deputy, Jessie Duarte. She is entangled in their network and also exposed as talking to their script. 32

The Guptas are now looking to seize control of the office of the secretary general entirely. Free State Premier Ace Magashule is the candidate who will deliver the ANC in its entirety to the family. 34

Magashule has already been a handy asset for the Guptas, delivering massive provincial deals and feeding their media entities through the provincial coffers. His sons, Tshepiso and Thato, were exposed in the emails as having been ensnared in the Gupta network for some time. Magashule clearly has ambitions and a higher calling now. 33

Opposition to his candidacy came from a surprise source in the past few days. Mbalula indulged in a spontaneous Twitter blast in which he recommended Gauteng Premier David Makhura for the position of secretary general. 25

“Ace Magashule a definite no no no the man will finish what is remaining of our movement he will kill it inffect #Thinkingaloudbeyond,” Mbalula tweeted. This was followed by: “Ancyl let’s rally behind David Makhura as a replacement to Gweede Mantashe #ThinkingBeyondFactions”. 12

Mbalula reaffirmed his sentiments to the Sunday Times, saying he had nothing against Magashule personally but believed the secretary general position was essential to the ANC’s survival. 16

“The office of the SG comes with a lot of integrity. It must not take sides and annihilate people and run comrades to the ground,” said Mbalula. Clearly the police minister does not think too highly of the candidate nominated by the ANCYL. But Mbalula’s tweets do open the debate beyond the Gupta-endorsed slate and the faction rallying behind Ramaphosa. 12

This weekend, Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile threw his weight behind Ramaphosa, saying he could protect the country from all forms of capture. He told the ANC’s West Rand regional general council that the ANC did not need cowards who would put the country up for sale. He also dispelled the debate over a woman president, saying the ANC needed a capable leader of whichever gender. 28

While Mashatile’s endorsement is indicative that Gauteng is likely to rally behind Ramaphosa, the province might be disorientated if there are more calls for Makhura to be deployed as a consensus candidate for secretary general. Gauteng is resolved that Mashatile should occupy one of the top six posts and has been negotiating with other provinces in this regard. 13

But all the debates and negotiations around succession might come to nothing if the ANC remains powerless to the interference of the Guptas in its processes. The infusion of dirty money to influence the votes of branch delegates has been a successful lobbying tactic in the past and will no doubt be used again. The Guptas have sufficient resources to splurge on this project, particularly as they have a massive vested interest in the outcome of the leadership elections. 28

Buying off a president has turned out to be a boon for the Guptas. Even though the state capture edifice is cracking, the Guptas know that capturing the top leadership of the ANC in December will allow them to regain their foothold and have unrestricted access to the state machinery and resources. 31

There is nothing to indicate that the ANC has the ability or willingness to stop them. The party has six months to fight off the biggest demon since apartheid – or be conquered by it. DM

  • Ranjeni Munusamy is a survivor of the Salem witch trials and has the scars to show it. She has a substantial collection of tattered t-shirts from having “been there and done it” – from government, the Zuma trials, spin-doctoring and upsetting the applecart in South African newsrooms. Following a rather unexciting exorcism ceremony, she traded her femme-fatale gear for a Macbook and a packet of Liquorice Allsorts. Her graduation Cum Laude from the School of Hard Knocks means she knows a thing or two about telling the South African story.

  • South Africa

South Africa – ANCYL: We expect better from our leaders that criticise the party

Mail and Guardian

ANC Youth League Collen Maine. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
ANC Youth League Collen Maine. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The ANC Youth League says it is very disappointed with the recent public criticism of its organisation by some senior ANC officials.

The league addressed the media on Tuesday at Luthuli House following their extended NEC meeting this past weekend at the St Georges Hotel in Pretoria.

Youth League leader Collen Maine said: “We must firstly indicate that we are very disappointed because we expect better from them [Joel Netshitenzhe and Gwede Mantashe] as leaders of the African National Congress but we will refrain from doing what they are doing and we will demonstrate leadership to them and engage with their views internally.

“We must also engage what informs these sudden attacks on the youth league but we will engage them internally. The ANC Youth League is united and there are no divisions.”

Both Netshitenzhe and Mantashe have recently criticised the ANCYL publically.

Netshitenzhe recently lamented the current state of the ANCYL while secretary general Mantashe, speaking to delegates at the National Union of Mineworkers central executive committee, last week said the league has been reduced to henchmen.

In the media briefing, the league also pronounced Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as their preferred presidential candidate, with Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza as her deputy.

The youth league also proposed the introduction of a second deputy general secretary with Fikile Mbalula as their preferred candidate for the position.


South Africa – Duarte says ANC leaders knew about Zuma intention to sack Zuma as early as November; Mbalula lashes out at critics

Mail and Guardian

AMC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte confirmed that the party’s integrity commission had not asked Zuma to step down as head of state. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
AMC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte confirmed that the party’s integrity commission had not asked Zuma to step down as head of state. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

President Jacob Zuma told top ANC leaders that he wanted to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister as far back as November last year, but was persuaded to delay his decision by the ANC’s top six officials, the governing party has admitted.

On Wednesday, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte revealed that Zuma began consultations with them on his desire to axe Gordhan just weeks after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) dropped fraud charges against the finance minister.

The NPA had charged Gordhan with irregularly approving the early retirement of South African Revenue Services employee Ivan Pillay.

Duarte spoke to journalists after the ANC held an extended national working committee (NWC) meeting at its headquarters in Johannesburg this week.

“We’ve known for quite a while. The president indicated in November that it was his wish [to axe Gordhan] … he was persuaded by us that we should wait a while. He explained his reasons then, that the relationship between himself and Gordhan was not good. So we did know,” Duarte said.

She also confirmed that Zuma again consulted the top six before sacking Gordhan in the early hours of last Friday. Last week, the Mail & Guardian revealed that the officials had learnt about Zuma’s intention to fire Gordhan in the ANC president’s closing address to a bilateral meeting last Monday with its tripartite alliance ally, the South African Communist Party.

Duarte also confirmed that the party’s integrity commission had not asked Zuma to step down as head of state. “The integrity commission withdrew the letter on the basis that the letter did not represent a resolution. The letter had been faxed late at night and some members [of the commission] only saw the letter at the meeting and on that basis asked for it to be withdrawn,” she said.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe rubbished reports that the commission made a similar recommendation to Zuma when they met him at the end of last year. “There is no December report from the integrity commission. The president only had a meeting with commission and that will be followed by another meeting on April 9,” he said.

Appearing to retract his criticism of Zuma’s reshuffle last Friday, Mantashe said the NWC agreed that: “The public dissonance was a mistake that should not be committed again.”

Asked if he withdrew his remarks at the NWC meeting, Mantashe said no.

He also denied that he and the party’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize had to apologise for their public statements.

Ramaphosa described Zuma’s decision to axe Gordhan on the basis of an unverified intelligence report as “unacceptable.”

Mkhize said Zuma’s attempt to have the ANC top six legitimize changes to the Cabinet which they were not consulted on, meant the ANC was no longer at the centre of power.

Mbalula lashes out at Gordhan and other ANC leaders

The new police minister, Fikile Mbalula (pictured), says the ANC's integrity commission is allowing itself to be used in a plot to overthrow President Jacob Zuma. (Gallo)
The new police minister, Fikile Mbalula (pictured), says the ANC’s integrity commission is allowing itself to be used in a plot to overthrow President Jacob Zuma. (Gallo)

Fikile Mbalula, ANC national executive committee member and newly elected police minister, has accused some party leaders who have publicly criticised President Jacob Zuma of attempting to cause a rupture in the party.

In an interview with the Mail & Guardian this week, Mbalula also accused former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, of being partly to blame for a decision by ratings agency S&P Global to downgrade South Africa to subinvestment grade.

Despite his belief that Gordhan and Jonas contributed the downgrade, Gigaba revealed in a press briefing this week that S&P had already made a decision by Friday morning – before Gordhan made his calls for mass mobilisation on Saturday at the memorial service in Johannesburg of liberation hero Ahmed Kathrada.

The agency said its decision was informed by last week’s Cabinet reshuffle last week which it believed would cause policy uncertainty.

Mbalula said: “Society has all believed in Pravin Gordhan because Pravin Gordhan has projected himself as an individual who’s first got the national interest at heart and he wants South Africa to flourish.

“But the way they have been going on, with Mcebisi with their Hollywood style of addressing meetings, mobilising society … you can equally say that the decision by these ratings agencies among others is informed by that.”

Gordhan’s calls have been interpreted by Mbalula as an effort to undermine new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s work of reassuring the markets of South Africa’s stability.

“What we have seen is a mobilisation by those who were appointed in those positions to basically undermine that work [of reassuring the markets]. And these are members of the ANC, members of the national executive committee.”

Zuma’s supporters, including the ANC’s youth and women’s leagues, have denounced S&P’s actions, with the women’s league calling for urgency on plans to establish a Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) ratings agency.

Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle has not only caused concern among ratings agencies but also among senior ANC leaders such as treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and secretary general Gwede Mantashe, all of whom distanced themselves from the president’s actions. In what appeared to be a co-ordinated criticism last week, all three leaders accused Zuma of imposing a ready-made list of changes to the ANC’s top six instead of consulting them on changes to the Cabinet.

The reshuffle has also seen alliance partners labour federation Cosatu and the South African Communist Party, as well as the ANC’s integrity commission, calling on the president to step down.

Mbalula has sprung to Zuma’s defence, accusing the integrity commission of allowing itself to be used in a plot to overthrow the president. He expressed concern that those who were calling for Zuma to step down were jeopardising unity in the party.

“What these leaders want for us to do now is to basically not only bring about a rupture but disrupt the ANC. And they say that President Zuma must be recalled. And thereafter what do they want?” he said.

“They know we’ve got a conference, a highly contested conference. Whose gonna take over from President Zuma [now]? It’s to further divide the ANC. So let the conference settle that score, in relation to leadership.”

Despite what appeared to be the start of an internal revolt against Zuma shortly after his Cabinet reshuffle, the ANC’s national working committee (NWC) this week called to order officials who had publicly criticised the president. In a statement released after a two-day meeting, the NWC agreed that the “public dissonance was a mistake that should not be committed again”.

For Mbalula, the public disagreement with the president represents an uncharacteristic deviation from the party’s principles of discipline and order.

“The mobilisation that is out there and that is generated in society comes from the very same leaders of the ANC whom we have looked up to for years and they have given us education about issues of discipline and conduct, but they’ve basically acted uncharacteristically,” he said.

“I don’t know what to even say to them about their behaviour because these are the people that we have grown up respecting. They have given us politics. And some of us have not deviated from those politics.”

South Africa – Mbalula says ANC electoral process a mess


ANC electoral process a huge mess – Mbalula

Fikile Mbalula (File, Netwerk24)

Fikile Mbalula (File, Netwerk24)

Johannesburg – The ANC has proposed again that an electoral college be formed to screen candidates in an attempt to rid its electoral process of gatekeeping, manipulation and slate voting.

“This is a political, non-partisan structure of people who have no interest about who should be a leader, except being guided by principles of the movement,” chair of the ANC NEC’S sub committee on organisational renewal Fikile Mbalula said.

The ANC is looking at a more open contest, he added, allowing for candidates to engage with party members.

These are some of the proposals made ahead of the June policy conference.

However, they will not be introduced before the December elective conference.  ANC structures still have to discuss policy proposals which will only be adopted at the elective conference to be held in Gauteng.

Mbalula, who led the drafting of the organisational renewal document, has described the current electoral process an “absolute mess”.

The electoral college, should it be adopted, would become an ANC constitutional structure and would kick in after branches had nominated people for leadership position ahead of the party elections.

It would be able to interview the nominated candidates.

It will vet the people politically, in terms of their track record in the party, Mbalula said.

“We keep crying foul over the people that are being elected, factionalism takes over – dominant factions that have resources, not political influence – and in the process, good leaders disappear. That is what we want to prevent,” Mbalula said.

“We need something like a jury to fight factionalism and to allow quality growth in the organisation.”

Mbalula admitted that the electoral college proposal is not new and was proposed ahead of the ANC 2007 elective conference held in Polokwane.

“If you follow ANC renewal from Polokwane, this is not a new thing, we have simply dusted it off… and brought it back with new perfume,” Mbalula said.

South Africa – financial strain may lead to drop out as Commonwealth Games host


Commonwealth Games 2022: Durban ‘may drop out as host’

Man celebratesAFP  Durban won the bid to host the Games in 2015

Durban may be unable to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games because of financial constraints, South Africa’s sports minister has said.

“We gave it our best shot but we can’t go beyond. If the country says we don’t have this money, we can’t,” Reuters quoted Fikile Mbalula as saying.

He said a final decision would be made by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Durban was awarded the Games in 2015 after being the only city to make a confirmed bid.

In December, South African officials had said the country was “fully committed” to hosting the event.

The government had estimated the Games could generate up to 20 billion rand ($1.5 bn; £1.2bn) in economic benefit.

But Mr Mbalula said the government had been forced to reconsider.

“I don’t want to raise your expectations and say everything looks good, it doesn’t because we don’t agree on the fundamentals and that is the operational budget,” he told a media briefing.

The Commonwealth Games Federation said it was in the final stages of reviewing a submission by Durban and it would make a recommendation as soon as the evaluation was complete.

The possible withdrawal of Durban has sparked interest in the British city of Liverpool.

A spokesperson for the city council said: “Liverpool is interested in hosting the games in 2022. We had heard rumours that Durban might be unable to deliver the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and have already indicated to the government that we are very willing to host them instead.”

The Games were first staged in 1930 and are held every four years. They feature athletes from more than 50 countries, mostly former British colonies.

The 2022 event is due to be the first time the Games are hosted in Africa.

South Africa -a younger generation of ANC leaders wants a stake in power

Mail and Guardian

With opposition parties boasting young, charismatic leaders, the ANC is realising it has to boost its appeal among young voters. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
With opposition parties boasting young, charismatic leaders, the ANC is realising it has to boost its appeal among young voters. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The ANC’s dismal local elections performance has fuelled calls for the party’s old guard to step aside and make way for a new generation of young leaders.

Factions in the ruling party this week confirmed that the election results have reignited the succession debate ahead of the party’s 2017 elective conference.

One group, which backs African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the next ANC president, is touting Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba as her deputy and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula or Gauteng Premier David Makhura as a replacement for Gwede Mantashe, the ANC’s current secretary general.

This group believes that Dlamini-Zuma as party president would best bridge the transition between the old and the new guard – but, after that, they want Gigaba to take over the reins.

“When you have a society that is young, the organisation needs to be young. We need new ideas to reposition the organisation,” said ANC Youth League secretary general Njabulo Nzuza.

The ruling party suffered a major blow in this year’s local government elections, managing just 54.5% of this year’s vote against the 62% it won in 2011 and losing control of key metros such as Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay.

This weekend’s meeting of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) in Pretoria is likely to be heated as the party’s poor election showing is set to take centre stage, with the blame game shifting between President Jacob Zuma and the Gauteng provincial leadership in particular.

The Mail & Guardian has been told that the group touting Gigaba and Mbalula wants Mantashe as party chairperson.

Nzuza mentioned Mbalula, Gigaba, Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Mzwandile Masina (who is also the ANC’s Ekurhuleni mayoral candidate) and ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair Sihle Zikalala as some of the young leaders who were ready to lead the ANC.

Gigaba and Mbalula both previously served as youth league presidents. They have also served in the ANC’s national working committee and on the NEC.

Gigaba’s spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete, said the minister would not discuss succession because the process of nominating leaders was not yet open. Mbalula refused to comment.

Zikalala said the intention of bringing younger people into the leadership structure is valid.

A senior government official, asked about party discussion involving the new generation, said: “The generational mix of Mbalula, Malusi, Zikalala and Makhura is dynamic. They can work well together.”

The inclusion of Gigaba as a potential deputy president and Mbalula as secretary general is expected to cause divisions in Dlamini-Zuma’s faction, which is largely driven by the “premier league”. This grouping consists of the premiers of the North West (Supra Mahumapelo), Mpumalanga (David Mabuza) and the Free State (Ace Magashule). If this faction gets its way, Mabuza would be the deputy president and Magashule chairperson.

The M&G spoke to five senior ANC leaders – three NEC members and two provincial executive committee members – who confirmed the renewed push to get former youth league leaders to play a more active role in the party’s leadership.

This can be seen as a strategy to reverse the party’s declining electoral support and a bid to match the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), both of which are led by young leaders – Mmusi Maimane (36) and Julius Malema (35).

An NEC member agreed that the older generation in the ANC needed to make way for young leaders to take the party forward, but warned against people who were “controlled by the Guptas”.

A second NEC member said: “There must be a new generation to take us forward. It happens in all organisations.” He emphasised the need for a proper debate about who would take over, but added: “Once you start putting names [forward], you invite problems.”

Other former youth league leaders who are being touted for the top six positions include Febe Potgieter-Gqubule and Pule Mabe, as deputy secretary general and treasurer general respectively. Mabe enjoys support from the faction seeking to have Cyril Ramaphosa take over from Zuma.

The Ramaphosa faction wants Gauteng leader Paul Mashatile as national chairperson of the party – something that may prove tough amid calls to tackle the Gauteng executive for the ANC’s poor showing in three metros as well as Mogale City.

The “young lions” lobbyists also insist that 60% of the party’s NEC members must be younger people. The term “young lions” refers to those who were deployed by ANC president Oliver Tambo in 1985 to make the country ungovernable, and later came to refer to the youth league.

The discussion about bringing young faces into the party’s leadership comes amid a strong push for Zuma to step down after the ANC’s humiliating performance in last week’s polls.

Committee members are expected to discuss the EFF’s demand for the ANC to remove Zuma in exchange for its support to retain the key metros.

The EFF also wants the ANC to implement land expropriation without compensation and has told the DA to proclaim its support for this policy publicly.

Zuma’s supporters in the NEC, who are in the majority, are once again likely to shoot down calls for his removal. Despite lobbying for new blood in the party leadership, Nzuza dismissed calls for Zuma to step down as “opportunistic”.

“That’s nonsense. Zuma was not contesting local government elections. What has emerged here is the white supremacy liberal agenda. You can’t say because we lost [metros and municipalities], you blame the president.”

Although Mantashe would not comment on calls for Zuma’s removal, he said: “The national executive will break into commissions to discuss all concerns and, once done, we will go back to voters with a message that says ‘we have heard you.’”

An NEC member, who asked to remain anonymous, said he supported including young leaders in the ANC’s top structures but warned that this process should not be self-serving. He questioned, for example, why Mbalula was named as a possible candidate for the position of secretary general when he had made “no impact” during the party’s election campaign.

Mbalula was roped in at the last minute to salvage the ANC’s election campaign, which had faltered under Nomvula Mokonyane.

Mbalula’s backers said he had, in fact, reduced the damage that could have been caused by the “smart and convincing campaign” by Malema and the EFF.

Although Mbalula was brought in at the 11th hour, he managed to fill the Ellis Park and Johannesburg stadiums for the Siyanqoba (Victory) rally two weeks ago.

Another NEC member said the ANC needed to regain lost ground after last week’s poll. “Our own mistakes cost us the election. Even when we say we need to include young people and we don’t fix those mistakes, it will still be a problem.”

ANC runs its gaze to small councils
With the ANC on the brink of losing control of some major metros, a battle is raging for control of several hung municipalities it had billed as “strategic” prior to last week’s local government elections.

The party has to seal coalition deals if it has any hope of reclaiming authority over the collective budget of at least R143-billion.

In reaction to the election result this week, former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni equated the shift to losing control of the country’s finances. “The ANC lost ‘control’ of about 85% of the municipal budget. That’s huge by any imagination. Basically, we lost economic power. Sad but true, no matter how you spin it,” he wrote in a social media post this week.

The ANC announced its mayoral candidates in June and listed Mbombela in Mpumalanga, Madibeng and Bonjala in North West, Waterberg in Limpopo, Emfuleni in the Sedibeng district of Gauteng and Sol Plaatje in the Northern Cape among the councils it viewed as key.

Although the ANC clinched the most votes in these municipalities, it failed to do so in other strategic councils such as Metsimaholo in the Free State, Nama Khoi (which includes Springbok) in the Northern Cape, Rustenburg in North West and Mogale City on Johannesburg’s West Rand. These hung councils collectively spent more than R6-billion last year, according to their respective budgets.

The party’s list of 62 strategic councils included district and local municipalities in areas such as Rustenburg, Mahikeng and Tlokwe in North West. Although the district municipalities have control over relatively small areas and their spending, the local municipalities earmarked by the ANC are mostly small towns with bigger budgets. It now has to negotiate swiftly in these areas to cut deals that will see it retain control of the purse strings — and it appears to be looking to some strange bedfellows for help.

“The Freedom Front Plus is very popular at the moment,” said Pieter Mulder, FF+ co-founder and current leader.

“Suddenly we have letters from the ANC and DA [Democratic Alliance], and we’ve met with the UDM [United Democratic Movement]. We are in talks with all of them but will do what’s in the best interests of our voters. We don’t want to make local deals. They’ve offered the speaker position in a small town, but we want a position in the metros in exchange for that.”

In a message sent to Gauteng journalists this week setting out coalition options in these hung municipalities, the ANC highlighted a mixed basket of partnership options.

In Metsimaholo, where the ANC won 19 seats, the party said it could work with either the DA with its 12 seats, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) with eight seats, the FF+ with one seat or the Metsimaholo Community Association (MCA) with two seats, it said.

The MCA emerged after a wave of violent protests in Zamdela, near Sasolburg, three years ago. Demonstrations flared up in opposition to the proposed merger of Metsimaholo and Ngwathe, which would have seen the municipal headquarters moved to Parys. The MCA now holds kingmaker status in the council and the seats needed by the ANC to remain in power.

The ANC missive suggested it could go with pretty much anyone in its quest for one extra seat in Rustenburg — either the steadily growing and relatively unknown African Independent Congress, the UDM, the FF+ or the EFF. Rustenburg was one of the most hotly contested areas in this election, with its annual budget of about R3-billion. It’s also the birthplace of the EFF and the site of the 2012 Marikana massacre, which significantly dented ANC support in the area.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), the FF+ and the EFF were listed as potential coalition partners in Mogale City — an area that covers much of Johannesburg’s wealthy western suburbs and that has a budget of just under R3-billion. The governing party needs just one more seat, and will probably approach either the IFP or the FF+ for a coalition, given that relations with the EFF remain frosty.

The ANC’s bid for control of these strategic hung councils comes on the back of the economic pain it suffered after losing its grip of key metros last week. It failed to win an outright majority in Tshwane, Johannesburg and the industrial centres of Nelson Mandela Bay and Ekurhuleni. These metros have budgets ranging from R11-billion to R50-billion and collectively control more than R137-billion in public funds.

South Africa – Zuma repeats that ANC will rule until Jesus returns

Mail and Guardian

Jacob Zuma is adamant that his party
Jacob Zuma is adamant that his party “will govern fully until Jesus comes back”. (Reuters)
“I hear people complaining when we say the ANC will rule fully until Jesus comes back but we have been blessed. Pastors have prayed for us.”

President Jacob Zuma has repeated his mantra that the ANC will rule until Jesus Christ returns.

Zuma – along with David Makhura, Nomvula Mokonyane, Thoko Didiza, Fikile Mbalula, Mapiti Matsena and Kgosientso Ramokgopa – spent Tuesday in the north of Tshwane conducting a door-to-door election roadshow and engaging with party supporters.

Zuma said that people needed to accept that the ANC would rule until Jesus Christ came back. “I hear people complaining when we say the ANC will rule fully until Jesus comes back but we have been blessed. Pastors have prayed for us,” he said.

He also took a swipe at other political parties and said their leaders never spoke about their own parties, but were more interested in talking about the ANC. “There is a young man, every time he opens his mouth, he says ANC. When are we going to hear about your party?”

Zuma admitted that the ANC had its challenges, but was quick to point out that they dealt with them head on. “There is no problem that we don’t deal with because we are a people’s organisation,” he stated. – News24