MEC is in a close contest with Lebogang Maile for the post of provincial chair
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has portrayed himself as the ANC’s potential saviour in Gauteng, saying the party must choose him as provincial chair next week if it wants to retain power in the province in 2024.
Lesufi will lock horns with MEC for co-operative governance & human settlements Lebogang Maile when the party meets to elect premier David Makhura’s successor.
The ANC appears to be on the brink of losing power in the province, with pundits suggesting it could happen in the next national elections. It won the barest majority — 50.19% — in 2019, compared with 53.59% in 2014 and 64.04% in 2009.
Lesufi told supporters at an event in the West Rand that his election as provincial chair would be a “first step towards saving Gauteng” for the party.
Any other person who doesn’t respect the ANC must know we will leave them at the door of renewal
He said enthusiasm for the ANC was waning and this had to be addressed, because losing power would be “sacrificing what our forefathers did for us”.
Lesufi is backed by outgoing chair Makhura while Maile is supported by treasurer-general Paul Mashatile.
The contest is said to be on a knife’s edge, with Lesufi’s support base concentrated in Sedibeng and the West Rand. Tshwane and Ekurhuleni support Maile, while Johannesburg is believed to be split down the middle.
Lesufi told delegates he was confident of victory after his campaign conducted headcounts of delegates in Sedibeng, Tshwane, Johannesburg and the West Rand.
“We will be a force to be reckoned with,” he said. “If all goes according to plan we will have a siyanqoba [victory] rally.”
He told the delegates that his mission was to renew the ANC and that the party had to be “decisive” in doing this and in “uprooting ill-discipline”.
“Any other person who doesn’t respect the ANC must know we will leave them at the door of renewal,” Lesufi said.
His “unite and renew” slate includes Thulani Kunene, director of the Gauteng department of health, as provincial secretary. Maile’s Adiwele grouping has Ekurhuleni regional secretary TK Nciza as provincial secretary.