Former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu has called on ANC branches in the province to throw their full weight behind deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid for the top job, saying that he has growing support across the country.
“Comrade Cyril does have support comrades, serious support, don’t let people fool you. He has support starting from here in KZN, he has support in KZN. To whoever asks where is the support, I will say I am one of those who support him. Let us go to the branches and support him,” Mchunu told a meeting of the Young Communist League where he was the keynote speaker on the South Coast of KZN.
Mchunu said he had observed President Jacob Zuma rubbish the notion that it is the tradition of the ANC for the deputy president to become the president, saying it had been a coincidence up until now.
He said Zuma called it a coincidence when Oliver Tambo – who was secretary general of the movement from 1957 and then became deputy president in 1967 after the passing of Albert Luthuli – was acting president and then became president.
“After that there was another coincidence when Madiba was president and Thabo Mbeki became president. Then there was another coincidence when he became president,” a boisterous Mchunu said.
“We have had this coincidence since 1967. Let us again have that coincidence and say our deputy president must become president and call it another coincidence,” he said to loud cheers.
“Some of us believe that the president we must speak of and support is comrade Cyril Ramaphosa.”
Alliance partners SACP, Cosatu and Sanco have all thrown their weight behind Ramaphosa. None of those organisations, however, having voting powers at the ANC;s national elective conference which will take place in December.
Ramaphosa will face off against lead contender Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – who has the backing of her ex-husband Zuma – as well as other senior leaders who have joined the fray, including Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, chairperson Baleka Mbete, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, and treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize.
Mchunu, who will bring with him the support of one half of a bitterly divided KZN, has been touted for the position of secretary-general on the Rampahosa slate.
Ahead of the conference a number of regions in KZN that have been aligned to Mchunu have been disbanded or stripped of powers that allow them to determine which delegates to send to the conference in what has been seen as a power play to upset structures who will support Ramaphosa.
Mchunu told the gathering on Thursday that rampant corruption was hurting the ANC. He told of a story of young boys at a riverside who were throwing stones at a frog. In the story the boys’ stones would land on parts of the frog, wounding it. After some time the frog said to the boys, ‘you are playing a game but you are killing me in the process’.
Mchunu said likewise corruption was slowly wounding the ANC and would eventually kill it.
He called for all those implicated in the Gupta scandals to save face and at least deny the allegations leveled against them or challenge them in the court of law, saying the ANC’s image was taking a beating.
He called for a return to the founding principles of the ANC which include: unity, democracy, non-sexism and non-racialism.
“Let us take the ANC forward and we have an opportunity in December,” he said.