The  possible meaning of the Mabuza and Lamola re-union

Mabuza may want to consolidate himself and try to draw everyone together under the guise of unity in action, not just in the province but in the ANC as a whole and this first throw of the dice with Lamola may potentially prove to be his strategy as there have been calls for him to ascend as the deputy president of the ANC.


PALESA MOTSHOENE


On 28 January 2017, the chairperson of ANC in Mpumalanga, David Mabuza affectionately known as ‘’DD’’, in his opening remarks at the ANC Mpumalanga 105 fundraising gala dinner, introduced Ronald Lamola who was a guest at the dinner, probably to the shock of many, because anyone who has followed Mpumalanga ANC politics knows that the relationship between the two had collapsed.

The relationship between the two had been so strained that Ronald, known as ‘’Ozzy’’ had packed his bags from his beloved province and headed to Gauteng were he hoped that he would be able to participate in the politics of the ANC, as branches in Mpumalanga refused to accept his membership.

Lamola, who at one stage was very close to Mabuza and served as his spokesperson in the province, described him at that time as a ‘corrupt leader’ who served his own interests above the organisation.

So it was interesting to see Mabuza speaking so fondly of him, of unity, describing their talks as a ‘’father-son’’ talk and welcoming him back to the province, saying that it was his home.

Now as the news spread of this ‘’father and son’’ reunion between the ANC Mpumalanga chairman and the former deputy president of the ANCYL, some of us questioned whether this was a genuine peace smoking reunion at the backdrop of the ANC’s slogan of ‘’Unity in Action’’ or whether it had to do with the greater politics of the ANC, since 2017 is the year of the conference were a new leadership of the ANC will be elected in December.

READ: Ronald Lamola joins Premier League

What we know at this stage is that there are two names that continue to crop up.

In as much as the succession debate hasn’t officially been opened by the national executive committee, the current deputy president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, and NEC member and former AU chairwoman,Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, are the potential presidential candidates.

Mabuza may want to consolidate himself and try to draw everyone together under the guise of unity in action, not just in the province but in the ANC as a whole and this first throw of the dice with Lamola may potentially prove to be his strategy as there have been calls for him to ascend as the deputy president of the ANC.

So as Mabuza continues to preach unity in his province, it also means that he must extend this olive branch to the ANC’s alliance partner in the province, the SACP, who have not seen eye to eye with him in recent times, accusing the ANC of factionalism and infightings. The political intolerance has not been good in the past months and neither does it contribute positively to the broader relations of the alliance.

The show of unity would be in how Mabuza relates to the SACP especially in the next coming months. Unity can’t be something that is preached, it must be acted upon as the ANC goes through the most challenging period in the current epoch of contemporary South African politics, were it seems as though it’s losing its grip on society and being grounded.

The ANC has been embattled with all sorts of challenges, such as gate-keeping, factionalism, political differences, public squabbling, infightings, corruption that has also affected the way in which it performed in the 3 August 2016 municipal elections.

The upcoming conference of the ANC will be crucial in how the ANC is able to restructure and rebrand itself as an organisation that still has the interests of the South African people at heart and continue with its mandate of improving the lives of ordinary South Africans, especially blacks who continue to leave under the harshest conditions 22 years into this hard fought democracy.

The ANC 2017 elective conference will be a make or break for the organisation and how society continues to project it. The members and leaders of the ANC must be in a position to scrutinise the potential names that may arise but most importantly whether those individuals will be able to stage an effective turnaround of the party and whether that leadership collective will be in the best interests of both the ANC and the country.

Unity is very important for the wellbeing of any organisation, the functionality thereof stems from it and that is why I see it as a great and humble move that Mabuza has demonstrated this sort of leadership by reuniting with the ‘’prodigal son of Mpumalanga’’, Ronald Lamola. It can only be in the best interests of the ANC that unity becomes the winner because a fragmented and disjointed ANC is not good for South Africa and the rest of Africa.

This reunion must also serve as a lesson to the rest of the leaders and members of the ANC, that political differences can always be resolved through dialogue.

As the days pass in anticipation and as the different names get touted around for the ANC presidency, including that of Mabuza by some quarters, we can only wait to see how this battle will pan out. For Mabuza though his actions of unity might just be his ticket to the top six.

*Motshoene is 013NEWS’ resident political analyst