ANC branches revolt
ANC members are refusing to accept directives from the top on whom to nominate for party leadership positions, and provincial party branches are divided over nominating Jacob Zuma or Kgalema Motlanthe, his deputy, for the most powerful jobs in politics.
When the KwaZulu-Natal ANC held its provincial general council meeting yesterday only Zuma and party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe were nominated unopposed despite an expectation that branches would toe the line and nominate luminaries listed on the slates circulated by Zuma lobby groups.
With less than three weeks to go before the party holds its elective conference in Mangaung, a similar trend appears to be unfolding in other provinces - party branches are ignoring provincial pronouncements and sticking with their preferred nominees.
Zuma wants to be re-elected for another term but Motlanthe - with the backing of the ANC Youth League - is believed to be quietly challenging him.
In KwaZulu-Natal a significant number of party branches nominated Motlanthe though he had been removed from the lobbyists' slate and replaced by businessman Cyril Ramaphosa. It emerged at the KwaZulu-Natal provincial general council meeting that about 300 branches in the province nominated Motlanthe as Zuma's deputy. Also nominated for the position was Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale. But early indications were that Ramaphosa would emerge as the province's preferred choice for the deputy presidency.
It also emerged that the province was not united on Premier Zweli Mkhize's nomination as treasurer- general of the party. Some branches nominated Planning Minister Trevor Manuel, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor, Deputy Correctional Services Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi or treasurer-general Mathews Phosa.
As Zuma lobbyists were campaigning for national executive committee member Jessie Duarte for the position of deputy secretary-general, some branches expressed support for incumbent Thandi Modise; others nominated Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and some SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande.
Branches nominated Baleka Mbete to stay on as national chairman, or Modise or KwaZulu-Natal legislature Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni.
In Gauteng, the provincial executive committee chose Motlanthe as its preferred presidential candidate. Most branches are said to have heeded the provincial pronouncement but one region, Ekurhuleni, nominated Zuma. Its 54 branches gave Zuma the thumbs up; Motlanthe was nominated by 21.
In North West, where the province has endorsed Zuma's second-term bid, divisions are said to be worse.
A provincial executive committee member said yesterday that though it was not known if the majority of branches supported Zuma or Motlanthe, the national executive committee's failure to resolve infighting in the province was the determining factor.
"What is clear is that 90% of the branches want [North West Premier] Thandi Modise to replace Mbethe as national chairman.
"[And] the branches want Mbalula to replace Mantashe as secretary-general.
In Eastern Cape, the provincial executive committee said that it wanted Zuma for another term.
According to an ANC member in the province, the Sarah Bartman region nominated Motlanthe because of the influence of an ANC Youth League executive member.