ANC is big on ‘no divisions’, so no reveal of mayoral picks: Mabuza

Asked if it would not benefit people to know who they’re voting for, he said the important thing was for them to vote for ANC

20 October 2021 - 17:13
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ANC deputy president David Mabuza on the campaign trail. File photo.
FOCUSED AS EVER ANC deputy president David Mabuza on the campaign trail. File photo.
Image: Supplied

Announcing ANC mayoral candidates ahead of the local government elections will only sow divisions in the party.

This is according to deputy president David Mabuza, who said on Wednesday that the party would only announce mayoral candidates after the November 1 election. He said announcing early would only “distract” the party.

“It’s obvious that if you decide on mayoral position before the elections you’re dividing your own people. Others will like the mayor that has been announced, others won’t.

“But it’s irrelevant. To get your people, focus on the campaign and announce [mayoral candidates] later,” he said.

Mabuza said the goal was to “get more focus so that we don’t distract ourselves”.

The ANC has learnt its lesson after it backfired immensely when it announced mayoral candidates in the past.

The party announced Thoko Didiza as its Tshwane mayoral candidate in 2016, leading to violent protests, especially in Atteridgeville, where residents felt Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa should have been selected.

Asked whether it was not better for people to know which mayor they would be voting in when depositing their ballot papers, Mabuza said what was important was for them to vote for the ANC.

“We have put up the faces of our councillors. They know our councillors, and the mayor is going to come out of those councillors,” Mabuza said.

It remains speculative who will be the face of the party in the municipalities, especially the metros.

In Johannesburg, caretaker mayor Mpho Moerane is seen as a front runner, but the party has flatly refused to confirm that he is its likely choice for mayor. Others have hinted at the possibility of fielding a woman for the country’s economic hub.

The DA is fielding Mpho Phalatse, while Action SA leader Herman Mashaba will stand as the party’s mayor in the city if it wins.

The ANC has also refused to name its mayoral candidate in Tshwane, even though it is going all out to reclaim the metro it lost to the DA in August 2016 — to the point of launching its election manifesto there.

Mabuza has also focused his campaign in Tshwane, and has visited several areas in the past few weeks, including Oliven, Atteridgeville, Soshanguve and Mamelodi.

Though he has visited other parts of the country, including the Free State and Mpumalanga, his sights are set on Tshwane.

Asked why that was the case, he said there was “no real reason”.

“Remember, I’ve been to Limpopo, I’ve been to Mpumalanga, North West, Free State. But I’ve spent most of my time here [in Tshwane]. It’s a metro; we’ve taken a decision that we want all our metros back,” he said.

According to Mabuza, the campaign message he has been delivering in Tshwane has resonated with the residents, whom he said agreed it was time to remove the DA government.

“Our campaign has gained traction. We can see people are now in the mood. They’ve understood that for us to change this situation we need really to take DA out of power. And our commitment, as the ANC, is that we are going to change this situation, come rain or sunshine. Our people’s situation has deteriorated; living here is not good for our people,” Mabuza said.

Tshwane is up for grabs and remains one of the most hotly contested of the three Gauteng metros — along with Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni — with the majority of parties pulling out all the stops for control of the council.

Tshwane has been run by a DA-EFF coalition since 2016, but things have gone south since the two parties fell out after the election of Helen Zille and John Steenhuisen into the higher echelons of power.

The EFF had wanted a quid pro quo arrangement, by which if it voted with the DA in Johannesburg, the DA would return the favour in Tshwane, and vice versa.

When those negotiations broke down, the DA struggled to run Tshwane as the EFF would not vote with it to pass budgets and elect the mayor, among other things, and in Johannesburg that gave the ANC the space to take over the city.

Meanwhile, the ANC has put together a team that will lead interview processes for mayoral candidates. For the eight metros, the team will be led by the ANC top six, who will be joined by national executive members Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Phumulo Masualle.

Different teams, led by NEC members, will interview mayoral candidates for district and local municipalities. 

In the Eastern Cape there will be four teams which will be led by Aaron Motsoaledi, Bheki Cele, Obed Bapela and Thoko Didiza.

The two teams in the Free State will be led by Pemmy Majodina and Ruth Bhengu.

Joe Maswanganyi will lead the one team in Gauteng, while the five teams in KZN will be led by Nocawe Mafu, Noxolo Kiviet, Mmamoloko Kubayi, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba and Tandi Mahambehlala.

There will be three teams in Limpopo led by Ayanda Dlodlo, Bathabile Dlamini and Joel Netshitenzhe, while in Mpumalanga the two teams will be headed by Gwen Ramokgopa and Pamela Tshwete.

In North West Pinky Kekana will lead one team while Lindiwe Sisulu will head another.

Collen Maine will lead one of the three teams in the Northern Cape, along with Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Regina Mhaule.

Nomvula Mokonyane and Alvin Botes will each lead their own teams in the Western Cape.

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