Amid the ANC’s dismal performance in the recent local government elections and renewed calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down, competing camps in the party are positioning themselves.
The battle for the control of the party now has two new players: the Premier League and a group known as CR17. They are fighting over who should be the next ANC leader and, subsequently, South Africa’s president.
The Premier League, led by the premiers of North West, Mpumalanga and Free State, is in favour of outgoing African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. But Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa gets the nod from Limpopo’s CR17, believed to be made up of mostly senior leaders of the party, including the province’s ANC deputy chairperson Jerry Ndou, treasurer Danny Msiza and former provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane.
The two factions have started circulating lists of preferred candidates for the ANC’s top six positions. The Premier League is said to be supported by ANC provincial secretary Nocks Seabi, former ANC Youth League provincial chairperson Lehlogonolo Masoga, and former ANC provincial chairperson Dickson Masemola.
When approached for comment yesterday, Masemola said he did not belong to any “fictitious groups given code names”.
“I belong to the ANC as a disciplined member,” he said.
Asked if he still supported Zuma, Masemola said Zuma deserved the support of ANC members as he was the head of the organisation until the next conference.
The Premier League wants premier and ANC provincial chairperson Stan Mathabatha removed as soon as possible. Its top six is made up of Dlamini-Zuma, Free State Premier Ace Magashule, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa and ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.
Limpopo ANC spokesperson Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the party was not interested in the activities of the two lobby groups – if they existed.
“The provincial executive committee does not have any lobby groups,” he said. Ntshavheni said the ANC was not aware of the lists being circulated.