The Mpumalanga provincial leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday distanced itself from a text message announcing a rally in Mbombela expected to be addressed by party presidential hopeful, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa and former African Union Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, are frontrunners in the race to lead the ANC in December, when new leaders are expected to be elected.
The ANC’s provincial spokesperson, Sasekani Manzini, said a text message was being circulated to branch leaders in the province supposedly to mobilise support for a rally planned to take place on October 28.
She said the message “falsely claimed” that Mpumalanga premier and provincial ANC chairman, David Mabuza, would also address the rally.
“The [ANC] provincial executive committee [PEC] distances itself from the planned event and the opportunism displayed by the faction calling itself CR17,” said Manzini.
She said no one had communicated with the PEC or the provincial chairman about the event mentioned in the text message that was doing the rounds.
“As the PEC, we view this circulating message alleging to represent a certain CR17 campaign and promoting a rally to be allegedly addressed by comrade Ramaphosa as a desperate attempt by bona fide factionalists, who are committed to liquidate the ANC through factions,” said Manzini.
“While we respect the right of any member to canvass for his preferred candidate, we strongly condemn the use of false information and the name of our provincial chairperson to advance their preferred candidate’s political fortunes.”
Manzini called on ANC members to reject the text message. She said, instead, branches must instead continue holding branch general meetings in preparation for the ANC’s elective conference to be held in December.
Last month, the Mpumalanga provincial leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) publicly endorsed Ramaphosa as their preferred candidate to succeed President Jacob Zuma as ANC president.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), which is Cosatu’s biggest affiliate, also threw its weight behind Ramaphosa.