Deputy President David Mabuza has denied that he “sold out” at the ANC’s Nasrec elective conference in 2017, which saw Cyril Ramaphosa take the ANC president position, beating Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The deputy president was campaigning in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday ahead of the ruling party’s manifesto launch at the weekend.
When asked to comment on allegations that he had betrayed Dlamini-Zuma to vote for Ramaphosa, Mabuza said it was “impossible”. He said that what had happened at Nasrec was a result of branch delegates who listened to his message of unifying the ruling party. According to the deputy president, Ramaphosa’s win had unified the party.
“What do you think you sell? I mean, I don’t imagine how in a conference of more than 5,000 people, do you think I know how all of these people voted? It’s impossible. I only preached for unity and what prevailed is unity. That means the branch delegates heard my voice, heard my story to say it looks like this person is making sense because because if we did not go the way we went, we would probably be talking about the ANC who is limping,” he told EWN in a video shared on social media.
According to a report in the Mail & Guardian, several ANC members in provinces were angry at Mabuza for unexpectedly apparently backing Ramaphosa on a “unity” slate at the elective conference.
Mabuza had been on Dlamini-Zuma’s slate as deputy president, but his unexpected decision to apparently support Ramaphosa gave Ramaphosa the edge over his rival. Mabuza has maintained that he merely allowed Mpumalanga branches and delegates to support whomever they preferred, but the M&G reported that Mpumalanga became highly divided ever since.
Some provinces were reportedly “not keen” to support Mabuza during the list process to select who would be sent to parliament.
A Dlamini-Zuma supporter claimed Mabuza has been an “absent president” due to all the anger he has engendered among some in the party.
The deputy president was not favoured by Ramaphosa’s slate to begin with, supposedly leaving him with few real friends in the ANC.
Life apparently became so tough for Mabuza post-conference that ANC insiders told the M&G he may even be willing to let a woman take over as national deputy president in 2019, following elections, according to his confidants – in a bid to make peace with the “NDZ camp”.