Fikile Mbalula, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at odds over 'Ramaphosa effect'
ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula is expected to deliver an analysis of the party's performance at the polls at a meeting of the party's national executive committee (NEC) tomorrow. The briefing follows tension between him and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma took a swipe at Mbalula over his claim that the party would have received only 40% support in last week's elections if President Cyril Ramaphosa had not won the ANC leadership in 2017 (when he was opposed by Dlamini-Zuma).
Sources who attended last week's NEC meeting, which decided the deployment of provincial premiers, said Dlamini-Zuma called Mbalula's remarks "divisive".
"Mama [Dlamini-Zuma] was saying she hoped Mbalula's postmortem of the elections would not be factional and cause divisions," a source said.
Dlamini-Zuma was referring to Mbalula's comments following a 57% vote for the ANC in the national election when he attributed the win to Ramaphosa, who he said was a "game changer" in these elections.
"If the elections result at Nasrec [venue for the ANC 2017 elective conference] was not reflective of change - you know, the way it did and the policy we adopted at Nasrec - if we did not actually take that direction, we would have actually sunk as the ANC," Mbalula said at the results operations centre in Pretoria as it became clear that the ANC would end up with just over 57% support.
Mbalula did not say anything in last week's NEC meeting at which Dlamini-Zuma admonished him, but was said to have fumed afterwards.
The Sunday Times has obtained messages from an ANC WhatsApp group that showed Mbalula to be "bitter" because he was accused by Dlamini-Zuma of "stuff I did not do".
"We can't be addressed by people who were conniving to bring us down. Never, never. Who did not campaign anywhere," he wrote in one of the messages.
He said he was not afraid of "them" and would take them on head-on, a reference to the ANC faction that is anti-Ramaphosa.
Mbalula said he could not wait for tomorrow's executive meeting in Cape Town.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Mbalula refused to comment on discussions at the NEC meeting, but said his comment on the ANC benefiting from Ramaphosa's win were merely in response to the narrative by the opposition that so-called "Ramaphoria" had not helped the ANC at the polls.
"The president of the ANC was a game changer. Everybody was receptive to Ramaphosa. You don't juxtapose that to who didn't win because you wouldn't have known what would have happened," Mbalula said.
Party polling showed that Ramaphosa's election had boosted the ANC's electoral fortunes, he said, adding that "this analogy is not a prank, it is based on research and polling".
As head of elections, he said, it was evident during the campaign that the ANC 2017 Nasrec conference had given the party and society new hope.
"No-one said Ramaphosa carried the campaign alone … We are no longer in the past. Anyone stuck in the past will have a problem with this analogy," Mbalula said.
A spokesperson for Dlamini-Zuma said she would not comment on ANC matters.