African National Congress (ANC) deputy president hopeful Oscar Mabuyane has warned his delegates that, while lobbying ahead of the ANC's elective conference next month will be about trade-offs, they should not to put themselves up for sale.
Mabuyane also called for calm and discipline, with the crucial national conference only 17 days away.
On Monday, he addressed a special provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting of the ANC in the Eastern Cape.
Mabuyane, who is also the province’s premier, said the Eastern Cape delegation would make its voice heard at the conference.
"Intense lobbying is now in full swing in the lead up to the conference, and I urge all of us in this PEC to maintain calm and discipline during this time. The lobbying process is about trade-offs, and it must always be treated within flexible bands, and we must be prepared to be persuaded at all material times, as long as people know we are not for sale. We must set a good example of maintaining organisational discipline for the Eastern Cape delegation."
Earlier this month, Mabuyane accepted the nomination for the party's national deputy president position.
The ANC in the Eastern Cape backed Mabuyane. He received 390 nods from his home province, but only seven other branches elsewhere backed him.
In ANC circles, however, its been rumoured that Mabuyane's campaigners are negotiating with structures in Mpumalanga to give the deputy president position to Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.
In exchange, Mabuyane will be given the position of treasurer-general. These talks are still in their infancy, sources said.
ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile is leading nominations for the ANC deputy presidency, but those supporting President Cyril Ramaphosa's bid for a second term believe the deputy president should be either Lamola or Mabuyane.
Regarding the nominations, Mabuyane said there was nothing to worry about.
"History and experience tell us that nominations are just nominations. Everything will be decided on voting day at the conference; therefore, we must not be alarmed by the results of the nomination process. We have now until the voting day at the conference to ensure that our leadership perspective emerges at the conference, and we must continue to engage other provinces to achieve our objective," he said.
Mashatile garnered 1 791 nominations from ANC branches.
"I have as per the guidance of this PEC, and I am humbled for this nomination by branches of the ANC. We said this is not about us, it’s about interest of the province and the country. The delegation we are taking to the national conference must unite and be coherent to make our voice heard. That is the task of all of us in this PEC, and I hope we will carry that task diligently until the last day of the national conference," Mabuyane said.
Delegates should be ready to defend resolutions that speak to the ANC's renewal and hold members accused of serious crimes accountable, he said
"Most ANC members think the 55th ANC national conference will be a watershed [moment]. I think that is a huge mistake. The 2024 national elections will be a watershed [moment] for our country and movement. I believe branch delegates at the 55th national conference will use their wisdom and give us a leadership outcome that would strengthen the ANC."
Mabuyane added that ANC members should be concerned with the low number of nominations for women.
"The ANC cannot be reversing or remain static on the issue of women representativity in the top six. So, as we lead branches of our province to the national conference, we must reflect on women's representation in the top six and find a way of engaging other provinces to make it a reality. The ANC must not come out of the 55th national conference with one woman in the top six. That would be a reversal of our democratic gains," he said.