Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza
The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ association (MKMVA) wants Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza to be second in command to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma when the party elects new leadership in December.
It also wants Free State premier Ace Magashule in the party's top six as secretary general.
Current Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has said he is stepping down after ten years in the position.
It is widely expected that the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) will also make a similar call following its National Executive meeting this past weekend.
MKMVA president Kebby Maphatsoe announced their preferred slate following their elective conference. Maphatsoe emerged successful at the conference but was given a title change from chairperson to president.
He said the organisation wanted a new position of second deputy secretary added to the current top six.
“We are also proposing that there should be an amendment so that we have two deputies for the secretary general,” said Maphatsoe.
He said they wanted current deputy Jessie Duarte to retain her position as deputy secretary general and the newly created position of second deputy to go to former ANCYL president and chairperson of the subcommittee on organisational development, Fikile Mbalula.
In their leadership slate, Maite Nkoana Mashabane the current ANC women's league Treasurer general and International Relations minister, should take over from Zweli Mkhize as Treasurer general. Maphatsoe said many also felt Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthethwa should be elevated to chairperson of the party, replacing Baleka Mbete.
Succession battle expected to intensify
In reiterating the association’s previous call, he said Dlamini-Zuma was the ideal candidate who had proven herself worthy of the position.
“You would remember in 2007 she was on the slate of comrade Thabo Mbeki but after that conference, she never went to Cope,” said Maphatsoe, referring to a break away party that was formed following Mbeki’s defeat to Zuma at the Polokwane elective conference. This was in turn followed by Mbeki being recalled as the country’s head of state.
MKMVA is not a constitutional structure of the ANC and does not have voting power as a block, but can lobby at branches.
It has backed Zuma's continued stay in the ANC and has been seen as closely linked to the so called premier league - consisting of Magashule, Mabuza and North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo.
An ANC insider has told News24 that they did not expect the league to produce anything different from the association; this has been further fuelled by a list being circulated on social media. This in spite of the league’s president claiming that they would not endorse Dlamini-Zuma or Cyril Ramaphosa, the other front-runner in the race to replace Zuma.
The Youth League is expected to brief the media on the outcomes of its extended NEC this week.
The ANC's succession battle is expected to intensify after the ANC allowed for branches to start discussing names but said nominations will only be opened in September. Other leaders with presidential campaigns underway include former Treasurer General Mathews Phosa, minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe and housing minister Lindiwe Sisulu.