The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in Limpopo is divided, with one faction supporting Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over the reigns of the ANC and the other supporting a woman president.
Ramaphosa’s sympathisers were allegedly locked out of the ANCYL Letaba sub-region conference in Modjadjiskloof, Limpopo, to elect new leaders at the weekend. The highly contested congress was protected by heavily armed guards.
Tensions at the congress became apparent after supporters of Ramaphosa and those backing the so-called “Premier League” came close to trading blows. Insiders say Ramaphosa supporters were being purged for not campaigning for Collen Maine before the league’s national congress in Midrand, Johannesburg, in September.
Mopani ANCYL regional secretary Oliver Mabunda yesterday said they did not want Ramaphosa supporters at the congress. “We needed branch delegates,” said Mabunda.
“It was a wrong platform for them.” Former ANCYL branch leader Kgomotso “Kgomza” Molokwane came out guns blazing saying: “The ANC is under siege. This is pure thuggery by people who support a woman president.”
Molokwane lambasted political opponents by calling them names, accusing them of “gatekeeping” and of being “habitual factionalists” hell-bent ondividing the ANC. ANC Mopani regional secretary Bioskop Makamu vehemently denied that Ramaphosa’s supporters were being purged.
“The challenges in the ANCYL cannot be linked to the 2017 succession debate,” said Makamu. “We will request a report from the league’s regional executive committee.” Limpopo is said to be in favour of Ramaphosa taking over from President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader.
ANC insiders say the recent party provincial general council had taken a decision to back Ramaphosa.
Between September and October, Ramaphosa visited Limpopo on several consecutive weeks – something his supporters say placed him in good stead when it came to leading the ANC and the country.
The “Premier League”, an ANC lobby group led by the premiers of Mpumalanga, Free State and North West, wants a woman to succeed Zuma as ANC president in 2017 and, ultimately, as head of state in 2019. The ANC Women’s League says it is also pushing for a woman to replace Zuma.
Several names have been bandied about as possible successors to Zuma, including African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and ANC chairperson and Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete. Ramaphosa, Dlamini-Zuma and Mbete have not publicly indicated if they are available.