Police Minister and ANC NEC member Fikile Mbalula, who has himself often been touted as a possible ANC secretary-general (SG), took to Twitter on Thursday to make the surprising announcement that he wants Gauteng Premier David Makhura to be the next ANC secretary-general.
Vuyo Mhaga, the ministerial spokesperson, confirmed that the account was not hacked and minister “stands by what he said”. He joked that he hopes this would not give media too much work.
In a series of tweets dealing with the ANC succession debate, Mbalula also slammed Free State Premier Ace Magashule.
Mbalula's office says his Twitter account is NOT hacked.
— Scapegoat (@AndiMakinana) June 15, 2017
The incumbent, Gwede Mantashe, has made it clear he does not intend to stand for re-election at the ANC’s elective conference in December.
It is now allowed by the party for members to name their preferred candidates ahead of the elections. The ANC Youth League has already released its preferred list, with Free State Premier Ace Magashule as their SG candidate.
Mbalula was scathing in his dismissal of Magashule, saying the long-running Free State chairperson was “a definite no no no”.
The account charged that Magashule would destroy what was left of the ANC and “inffect [sic] it”.
It’s understood that the league’s list represents the wishes of the ANC’s “Zuma faction”, also understood to be led by the so-called Premier League. It wants Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over as president from her former husband.
However, Mbalula apparently made it clear on Twitter that he does not support any faction, and merely believes Makhura is a great candidate.
Makhura, as an ANC leader of Gauteng, has consistently led the stand against Zuma’s presidency. Gauteng never voted for Zuma at previous elective conferences.
Mbalula also said on Twitter that he does not want to stand for the SG position again himself. He wrote: “I ran my race I was defeated in mangaung am not party to any faction David Makhura is a good damn good Leader hard working and honest cde…”
The tweet appeared to come as a bolt out of the blue, with Mbalula saying he would name Makhura “If somebody asked” him.
The minister tweeted he was not hacked. His next tweet after that was a funny meme.