Durban — ANC presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu may soon be teaming up with Dr Zweli Mkhize and run for the deputy president’s position under him.
Lobbyists from both camps who asked not to be named told the Daily News on Monday that although Sisulu was still fighting for her presidential nominations – which she believed was rigged by the party’s electoral commission – she is in talks to contest the deputy position to allow Mkhize to go toe-to-toe with President Ramaphosa for the presidential position.
Sisulu is on record as saying she was not sure whether she would serve under Ramaphosa and has been vocal against his presidency.
This paper understands that there have been ongoing negotiations for the merger of the two camps to challenge Ramaphosa at the upcoming conference but both camps wanted to see how Sisulu and Mkhize perform in the branch nominations.
The Daily News reported last month that the two camps had agreed to team up but had to wait and see who got more branch nominations than the other so that the one who received more nominations could be one who should contest for the president’s position.
Sisulu’s spokesperson Steve Motale said all they can say at the moment was that negotiations have gone well. Mkhize’s chief lobbyist Siphiwe Blose confirmed that there have been talks with Sisulu’s election team about working together, saying Mkhize has no problem with working with anyone including Sisulu.
He emphasised that all Mkhize wants were people who must bring numbers from their provinces. He said in this country there were two kinds of people, those who don’t want Ramaphosa back and those who want him, adding that those who said Ramaphosa must go would always get Mkhize’s support.
“Sisulu is one of us because we all agree that Ramaphosa must go, so Mkhize would not have a problem working together with her but it is important she brings numbers as we have already done so as KZN province.
“So we are expecting anyone who wants to work with us to bring numbers to the table to be considered for the remaining top five positions,” said Blose.
Sisulu’s political adviser Mphumzi Mdekazi said Mkhize’s camp would not only boost gender balance by taking Sisulu on board but would benefit from her credibility.
Mkhize’s camp expressed concerns that Paul Mashatile has not yet confirmed which slate he belongs to since he received nominations from Mkhize and Ramaphosa’s supporters.
Blose said time was running out for Mashatile to clarify which line-up he supports, adding that up until now Mashatile has not publicly endorsed Mkhize.
Mashatile, who is currently acting as secretary-general, was endorsed by both Gauteng and KZN for deputy president but his province’s branches appeared to have nominated him alongside Ramaphosa. Out of 1 791 nominations, Mashatile’s 521 tally for the deputy president’s position came from KZN.
If KZN ANC were to pull out from backing him he would be vulnerable since he was nominated with Oscar Mabuyane and Ronald Lamola for the same position. If he does pronounce Mkhize, he is likely to anger Ramaphosa’s supporters from Gauteng who might also dump him.
Mashatile was conspicuously absent when Mkhize addressed the Bertha Gxowa memorial lecture in Katlehong last week. He was expected to be there since the event was in his province, but only Nomvula Mokonyane, who is contesting for the deputy secretary-general’s position; Phumulo Masualle, who is vying for the secretary-general position; and Mzwandile Masina for treasurer-general accompanied Mkhize.
Mashatile was said to have been in the Western Cape campaigning for a by-election.
Another candidate who appeared to be in a similar position as Mashatile was Stan Mathabatha whose Limpopo branches paired with Ramaphosa, yet he received sizeable nominations from Mkhize’s supporters for the national chairperson position. He is also yet to choose which slate he belongs to.
Mashatile had not responded by the time of publication.