BD live

Cracks seem to be appearing in the ANC’s ‘premier league’

Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza criticises his Free State counterpart for punting him for the position of deputy president in the party, saying it was uncalled fo

28 February 2017 – 15:19 PM Mandla Khoza
David Mabuza.   Picture: SOWETAN
David Mabuza. Picture: SOWETAN

Cracks are appearing in a powerful ANC faction dubbed the “premier league” after Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza on Monday criticised his Free State counterpart for punting him for the position of deputy president in the party, saying it was uncalled for.

The premier league is a group of ANC chairs, supportive of President Jacob Zuma, which includes the North West, the Free State and Mpumalanga.

However, it is understood there are differences within the group over who to support for which positions at the ANC’s elective conference in December.

Zuma has effectively come out in support of former African Union (AU) Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him as president of the ANC.

There is behind-the-scenes jostling for the position of deputy president and at the weekend Free State ANC chairperson Ace Magashule at Mabuza’s brother’s funeral told ANC members that if they wanted Mabuza as the next deputy president, they should elect him.

Speaking at a media briefing on Monday, Mabuza described Magashule’s comments as uncalled for.

He said the ANC had decided not to openly name candidates for positions and to focus on policy instead. He urged people not to use his name to bypass ANC rules.

“As the ANC we have taken a decision to not discuss names … let’s talk about important issues like what have we done and what we need to do. Yes, people have a right to talk and discuss my name and I will not respond because they are talking about me not with me,” Mabuza said.

“I do not have to respond about the premier of Free State, all I can tell him is that do not break the rule of the ANC in my name. I hear people are talking in corners about me … there might be good and bad intentions.

“So the premier [Magashule] came here to support me when I was burying my brother, so there were people of the ANC who came to support me. I let him speak to the members of the ANC, but he then (uvukwa ngumoya) meaning spirits, saying if they want me they must elect me,” said Mabuza.

Mabuza said the province had taken a decision to support the families of the three Lily Mine victims, Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda whose bodies have been trapped in the mine since February 5 2016.

“On the Lily Mine issue, I met with the mine and the Minister of Mineral Resources [Mosebenzi Zwane] to discuss the way forward and also see what to do since there were promises that were not kept. The mine pleaded that they do not have money hence they are on business rescue, so … they are looking for monies to continue with the operation and recovery of the bodies. As the provincial government, we have taken it [on] ourselves that we will support the families of the three victims.

“I have also seen that in that community there is dire poverty hence as government we will try to make sure they get services correctly” said Mabuza.

With Natasha Marrian