The campaign managers of the African National Congress (ANC)’s presidential hopefuls Jeff Radebe, Baleka Mbete and Mathews Phosa all maintain that their respective candidates have the ability to restore the public’s confidence in the party.
On Friday evening, a roundtable was hosted in Durban where the public was given an opportunity to debate the quality of the front-runners.
Lobbyists for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa and Lindiwe Sisulu were, however, a no-show at the event.
The official nomination process by the branches of the ANC starts on 1 September.
The Research Institute’s Xolani Dube began the event by saying there are divisions within some of the campaign teams.
“There are factions within factions.”
Thamsanqa Mali, who is campaigning for Mbete, says she is the most senior in the ANC.
“To say this is our candidate, but don’t say this candidate is a candidate must leave a space for another woman. It’s undemocratic, it’s un-ANC. It’s clumsy.”
Khulu Mbongo represents Radebe’s campaign team: “Today comrade Jeff Radebe stands proudly as the longest-serving cabinet minister in South Africa.”
Andile Lili, who is lobbying for Phosa, says his candidate has shown his good governance capabilities and carries himself in a manner that will restore hope in the ANC.
SUPPORT FOR NEW LEADERS
Meanwhile, Dlamini-Zuma has called on members of the party to support whoever is elected to lead the organisation at the elective conference in December.
Dlamini Zuma took her campaign to the North West this week where she addressed a cadres’ forum in Klerksdorp on Thursday.
The former African Union chairperson said that whoever wins in December must be supported.
“The ANC policy is very clear, whoever is elected democratically by the ANC structures becomes our leader. We all support that person.”
She said after the elective conference, the party must unite and prepare for the 2019 elections.
“After December, all of us, it doesn’t matter who is elected, all of us we’re going to hit the road. We’re going to go to every village.”
She emphasised that whoever wins in December should embrace everyone and not purge those who didn’t support them.
At the ANC’s policy conference earlier this year, President Jacob Zuma proposed that the party’s constitution be changed to allow for a losing candidate for the ANC presidency to become the deputy president, saying this would be in the interests of unity.
The presidential hopeful said there must be unity after the conference.
“The one who is elected cannot say 'you did not support me, I’m pushing you away'. Whoever is elected must embrace everyone.”
She said the ANC won't be divided by elections.
The party’s 2007 elective conference in Polokwane where President Zuma was elected, divided the party and led to a split.