Succession battle moves to Eastern Cape
THE battle for ANC support in the Eastern Cape will move up a gear this week, with President Jacob Zuma and one of his potential challengers, Tokyo Sexwale, campaigning in the province.
Both men will be attending church services as they try to win supporters in the province - which has the second-highest number of ANC members - ahead of the national elective conference in Mangaung in December.
Today, Zuma will visit the Eastern Cape for the second time in three days to address thousands of members of the influential Twelve Apostles Church in Christ at the Absa Stadium in East London.
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema attended a service at the church over the Easter weekend - shortly before he was finally expelled from the ruling party.
Human Settlements Minister Sexwale will launch his own charm offensive next weekend, when he attends a church service at the Rhema Umtata Christian Church in Mthatha.
Sexwale, who will be using his ministerial programme as a platform from which to campaign for president, will also meet some traditional leaders in and around the town.
Then it is on to Queenstown for the launch of the youth month campaign, organised by the ANC Youth League.
The Sunday Times has learnt that Zuma's invitation to the Twelve Apostles church was as a result of unhappiness within the church about Malema's visit.
The former youth league president was not allowed to address the congregation after jittery church leaders consulted the ANC's provincial chiefs.
But yesterday the ANC confirmed Zuma would address church members.
"The occasion will be attended by church members from many countries in Africa. The service will also acknowledge the centenary celebrations of the ANC in the Eastern Cape," said spokesman Jackson Mthembu.
But Sexwale lobbyists regard this as election campaigning by Zuma - and have adopted the same strategy ahead of the official start of the nomination process in October.
A Western Cape-based Sexwale campaigner said "We are using their strategy.
"Remember, we are not allowed to talk succession, only KwaZulu-Natal is.
"But just as Zuma uses the government programme to campaign, we will also use the same tactics to visit provinces and solidify our campaign."
Those lobbying for Sexwale are banking on what they have dubbed the "Anyone But Zuma", or "ABZ", phenomenon, which they say is sweeping through party structures.
The minister's supporters said they were ignoring provincial structures and going straight to the branches.