It almost seems a daily occurrence: another shift in the alignment of the tectonic plates within the ANC driving the factions within the ruling party even further apart.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and President Zuma stood on opposite sides of this uncertain terrain as Zuma flew into Port Elizabeth at the weekend, only hours after Andile Lungisa was confirmed as the newly elected chairperson of the ANC’s Nelson Mandela Bay region.
Mantashe had sent a strongly worded letter to Lungisa, a former ANC Youth League deputy president, to withdraw from the regional race as the ANC constitution barred members serving on the provincial executive committee from contesting positions in lesser structures.
Yet Zuma roundly endorsed the election of Lungisa, seen as standing squarely in the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s presidential push.
Two things emerge: the president should be making a concerted effort to heal rifts, not aggravate them; and that the touted candidates for the ANC presidency step out of the shadows and declare their intentions so the uncertainty ends immediately.
But this would be contrary to the constitution of the ruling party, even though it has seemingly played no part in the Lungisa issue.