There are just months to go before the ANC’s Gauteng elective conference, and contenders are accelerating their campaigns, with more names of people vying for the top five being revealed.
It seems the current provincial deputy chair and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and ANC Gauteng provincial executive committee member and Human Settlements, Urban Planning, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile will yet again challenge one another to be elected to the top position.
The two wrestled for the deputy chairperson position a few years ago, and Lesufi won it narrowly.
Lesufi’s backers believe that he has just the right amount of popularity and flair to outdo Maile at the provincial conference. He is gunning for the position, with strong support from members of ward 16 in Kempton Park, where he started his political career.Gauteng Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile. Photo: Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images
The grouping, which spitefully supported Maile in his 2018 bid to be elected as deputy chair, is adamant not to do so this time around, stating that its decision to switch sides is because of its past unpleasant experience with Maile, who they do not trust will work with them once he emerges.
“We worked with Lebo in 2017 and we decided to not do this again, because we were left dry,” ward 16 chairperson Xiporo Andrew Baloyi told City Press.
He and secretary of the region, Doctor Xhakaza, will be contesting for the positions of deputy chair and chair, respectively, in Ekurhuleni.
Baloyi said:We are going to consolidate all the branches in the East Rand to support Panyaza. We still have branch general meetings where this will unfold.
Lesufi’s slate so far only features the current provincial deputy secretary Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, who is yet to launch her campaign for the deputy chairperson position.
“We feel that Nomantu is a good candidate, and she is representing women. She has some experience and has been a part of leadership in the province, so it only makes sense. We are still looking at who could possibly contest in the leadership, but we will know closer to the conference,” a source said.
However, those backing Maile believe that they have overwhelming support from Ekurhuleni, as they have the backing of regional chair Mzwandile Masina, who is running for a third term in Ekurhuleni.
“Mzwandile Masina, working together with [Ekurhuleni regional secretary] TK [Nciza], cannot be defeated by anyone. I can tell you Panyaza is from Ekurhuleni and Lebogang is supported in Ekurhuleni; more than 80% of branches are supporting Lebogang,” said a person who backs Maile.
They believe many other regional structures are fully in support of Maile, including the dominant faction in the West Rand.
A staunch supporter said:You have branches in Johannesburg who are also supporting Lebogang Maile in the majority, because the advantage this time is that Parks Tau is not standing.
“You must know that, in the last conference, Lebogang had to share his region with Parks Tau. In the Tshwane region, we know that Lebogang is supported; the only person who is not supporting him is Kgosi Maepa, who is the regional chairperson and has no ground support in Tshwane,” they added.
Maile’s slate consists of Mzi Khumalo for the deputy chair position and Nciza as provincial secretary, while Pule Majapelo will contest for the treasurer position.
In Johannesburg, Maile will have the help of the region’s secretary, Dada Morero, who is contesting to be the Johannesburg chairperson alongside the region’s spokesperson, Sasabona Manganye, who is rumoured to be in the running for the secretary position.
Johannesburg activist Fred Mokoko is also being touted for the city’s secretary position.
However, Economic Development MEC Tau has not completely ruled out contesting if nominated by the branches.
Speaking to City Press, his spokesperson, Loyiso Jantjies, said Tau had a big interest in developing Gauteng’s economy, which showed that he was still fit to lead.
Jantjies explained that Tau would, however, be waiting for branches to openly declare their support before engaging in any sort of campaign.
“He understands the importance of respecting the will of the branches. In this case, you are finding a situation in which people are either nominating themselves because there are no BBGM’s [branch biennial general meetings] which have sat and put together a report to give to their regional officers to say, here are the nominations.”
The ANC’s Gauteng conference is scheduled to take place in June.