Free State African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Ace Magashule has called on the two front runners in the race for president, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa to reach a common position before the party’s elective conference this weekend.
So far, five provinces have nominated Ramaphosa to take over from President Jacob Zuma, while four have given Dlamini Zuma the nod.
Magashule has hinted that the ANC’s provincial chairpersons have met to agree on a compromise that would avoid a bruising contest when the party elects its new leadership this weekend.
He says they want Dlamini Zuma and Ramaphosa to sit down and talk before the national conference.
“Persuade one another and find a common position and when we go to national conference, we’ll engage other provinces.”
He says that while the Free State speaks with other provinces, it will be willing to support a compromise that makes sense.
Meanwhile, Magashule told delegates at the provincial elective conference that he will be re-elected uncontested, continuing his reign as the ANC’s longest serving provincial leader.
Magashule’s deputy Thabo Manyoni, who boycotted the gathering, is expected to be replaced.
The Free State conference was delayed for almost 10 hours on Sunday due to the registration of delegates.
The party was meant to hold this gathering last month but the Bloemfontein High Court ordered that it could not go ahead until 29 branches in four regions had rerun their branch general meetings constitutionally.
Magashule, who has been ANC chairperson since 1992, pre-empted the outcome of this elective conference when he told delegates that he and other PEC leaders would be re-elected.
“There’s no contest, there’s leadership here. I’m definitely sure it will come uncontested.”
He told delegates that he never campaigned to retain his position as ANC chair, taking an indirect swipe at Manyoni who previously announced he would challenge Magashule at the conference.