Muzi Chirwa opens succession debate, lobbies Mabuza for top six

ANC chairman in the Gert Sibande region, Muzi Chirwa who is also the District's mayor, seen here with member of the provincial executive committee in the province, Sibusiso Sgudla, says is not a secret they want David Mabuza to go national. PICTURE BY Caxton.

Muzi Chirwa opens succession debate, lobbies Mabuza for top six

The leader of the ANC in the Gert Sibande region in Mpumalanga has in effect opened the succession debate of the ANC, giving clear indications who they want to lead the party nationally.

ANC Gert Sibande regional chairman Muzi Chirwa has told delegates attending the party’s regional lekgotla over the weekend that it was not a secret that they wanted provincial chairman David Mabuza to go up and form part of the ANC’s top six nationally.

The ANC in the region convened its own lekgotla on Sunday morning following a provincial lekgotla a three weeks ago.

“Comrades, we are aware that as we prepare for 2017, ourselves as Mpumalanga province we are sending one of our own in the top six,” he said.

“I’m saying comrades as a Mpumalanga province we are gearing up for DD Mabuza to be in the top six. But not at all costs,” Chirwa said.

He told delegates that sending Mabuza nationally would depend on whether the ANC would remain united by such a move and “that’s why I’m saying we are not preparing to send him to the top six at all costs,” he said.

Mabuza could be the deputy president of the ANC when it convenes its national congress next year.

He is believed to be a leader of an ANC lobby group called Premier League, which is made out of most of the country’s provincial leaders and is aligned to President Jacob Zuma.

The Premier League wants AU chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to replace Zuma in next year’s congress and Mabuza is lobbied to deputise her.

However a month ago a highly placed source told 013NEWS that the plan was actually for Mabuza to emerge as the President of the ANC

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The SACP and Cosatu are believed to be backing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for the party’s number one job and General Secretary Gwede Mantashe as deputy.

Chirwa was elected the new regional chairman during an April special congress after chairman Vusi Shongwe went to the province’s top five as treasurer.

The Gert Sibande region is led by Chirwa as chairman, Audrey Maleka as secretary, Lindi Masina as deputy secretary and Vusi Motha as Chirwa’s deputy. Khosi Kota is the region’s treasurer.

In an interview with 013NEWS before going to the lekgotla’s breakaway discussion groups on Sunday mid-day, Chirwa repeated they didn’t want sending Mabuza up “to occur at all costs”.

“It’s now known [who we lobby for] but the processes are not yet opened.

“When that space opens, we enter that space humbly, respecting the processes of the ANC and we say, it is our wish that the chairperson of the province is elected to the top six and at the current moment we are not going to say for which position,” Chirwa said.

The lekgotla discussed a number of things – including how best to speed up services to the poor, economic development of youths and uniting the alliance partners “by respecting one another”.

“Respect is important comrades. We are not here to dominate one another. We must support one another, not tear one another apart,” Chirwa said.

(edited by ZK)

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