Some in Cape ANC want Ebrahim Rasool back
The DA's choice to succeed Helen Zille as Western Cape premier, Alan Winde, is likely to square off against ANC heavyweight Ebrahim Rasool in the elections next year.
The acting ANC Western Cape chair, Khaya Magaxa, said on Friday he was pushing for Rasool to again be the party's premier candidate and also to take over as provincial chair.
The ANC is expected to hold a provincial general council next month, when the election of a new Western Cape chair would be on the agenda.
But this might not take place due to divisions in the party's Cape metro region, which held an elective conference earlier this month that led to a disputed result.
Rasool, who served as Western Cape premier from 2004 to 2008, said on Friday he was available to be on the ANC list but could not dictate where he should be placed.
"The only thing that I have been asked is whether I am prepared to serve on the list of the ANC and I have agreed, but as to where I am, and what position to aspire for, or whether I want to be chairperson, those are not things I am speculating on.
"I want to remain a fairly unifying figure for the whole of the ANC in the Western Cape because that is what is going to be required if we are going to exploit the weakness of the DA at this moment," said Rasool, who ended his previous term under a cloud.
He said he would prefer to be on the national list, but it was not for him to ask for this. He could only express his availability to serve again.
Rasool said he was not yet convinced that he should stand as provincial chair. "I am focused on winning the elections and for that, I need to be a unifying figure and not enter the competition for specific positions."
Rasool, who was appointed ambassador to Washington, US, after the ANC ditched him as premier 10 years ago, re-entered active politics in April when he was announced as the ANC elections head in the Western Cape.
The Sunday Times has previously reported that there was a strong lobby for him to replace Marius Fransman as provincial chair but at the time Rasool said he was "very reluctant to even think about this possibility".
ANC insiders, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Magaxa was leading the charge to have Rasool lead the party in the province.
Magaxa is said to have made his feelings known in a speech at a meeting of the provincial executive committee.
"I cannot hide that wish," Magaxa said. "Most of us generally would wish him to be our chair or our face of the elections campaign, even including being a premier candidate, if the [ANC national executive committee, or NEC] allows us [to]. It would be a good idea."
Magaxa acknowledged some people were opposed to Rasool because of ructions during his previous tenure as premier, but he was still popular within the ANC and among voters generally.
Magaxa said the party in the province was working hard to persuade the NEC to allow it to hold a provincial general council so it could elect a new chair before next year's elections.