Cracks are beginning to show in the Free State ANC, a province in the party that’s known to be among those firmly behind President Jacob Zuma.
Premier Ace Magashule, with North West premier Supra Mahumapelo and Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza, are said to be part of the “premier league” that wants to secure Zuma a third term.
The ANC has denied such a league exists. The ANC in the Free State has postponed its provincial manifesto launch and moved it to a smaller venue – the 20 000-seat Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium in Botshabelo – amid fears of failing to fill the 50 000-capacity Charles Mopeli Stadium in Phuthaditjhaba.
The launch, scheduled to be attended by the embattled president as the key speaker, was pinned for Saturday but has been moved to May 14.
Free State provincial spokesperson Thabo Meeko said the event has been postponed due to the party’s many “commitments and programmes … nothing else”.
Last Friday, rebellious ANC members in the province marched to Magashule’s office in Bloemfontein, calling for Zuma to step down.
The march saw more than 200 angry ANC members join forces with opposition parties and community members in one voice to get Zuma out of office. The former ANC regional chairperson of Motheo, Thoko Mokoenanyana, said the ruling party should start fixing the mistake of 2007 (electing Zuma as ANC president in Polokwane) if it wished to avoid a political uprising ahead of the crucial local government polls in August.
Mokoenanyana, who also served in the Free State provincial legislature, said South Africa needed a better president who understood and respected the oath of that office, and Zuma was not that person and “never had been”.
“I said this leading to the Polokwane conference and my region – which includes Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba ‘Nchu – was disbanded, while l was subsequently recalled from the legislature. I will never leave the party but I will never be part of leagues or groups that seek to protect individuals within the organisation,” she said.
Another ANC member and the organiser of the march, Mzwandile Phupha, told the crowd that they were not prepared to keep quiet while the leadership of the ANC protected Zuma.