DD Mabuza currently focused on building support base for Refilwe Tsipane

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POLITICAL MANAGEMENT: Deputy president DD Mabuza whose absenteeism from the public eye during the Covid-19 pandemic has led to various speculations about his whereabouts, sources close to him though say the man is busy churning the elbow grease in an effort to avert his power base of Mpumalanga slipping through his fingertips. PICTURE BY Lowvelder

He has also recruited former opponents to come support the idea of a woman leader.


ANC deputy president DD Mabuza is currently focused on building a support base for Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, the Mail & Guardian has reported Thursday this week.

An ANC insider told the national weekly that Bhuti, Mabuza’s nickname in Mpumalanga ANC corridors, has been recruiting former opponents like those from rival former Premier Mathews Phosa’s faction to support Tsipane to become the ANC provincial chairwoman. 

Tsipane is currently faced off with acting chairman Mandla Ndlovu in the suspended ANC provincial conference for the position that Bhuti left when he was elected deputy president in Nasrec on 18 December 2017.

013NEWS understands from highly-placed sources that Mabuza called Tsipane lobbyists to his farm in the first week of April 2020 and scolded them for lying to him that Tsipane was having an upper hand in the battle for the ANC top job and wasting a lot of money, making no impact after a large number of the ANC branches that convened their BGMs, before President Cyril Ramaphosa imposed the national lockdown towards the end of March, nominated Ndlovu to come lead the ANC.

Sources said the province had 79 branch meetings, of which 61 nominated Ndlovu and 18 nominated Tsipane, leading to violence spilling over into communities – one of these incidents left ANC member Prince Manzini dead after being beaten to death in March 2020 in Kabokweni for supporting Ndlovu.

ALSO SEE: Peter Nyoni’s branch nominates Mandla Ndlovu, violence erupts

Ndlovu supporters say they are “fatigued” of Mabuza’s politics, having tolerated it for many years and were now looking for a fresh look of the ANC – that is without Mabuza’s micro-managerial involvement.

DD Mabuza currently focused on building support base for Refilwe Tsipane
DD Mabuza’s favoured candidate Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane who fights to turn things around after signs showed her ship was sinking until a Covid-19 lockdown was imposed, stopping all BGMs and saving her to rework the ground

Mabuza is said to be investing in former opponents from trade unions, the SACP and SANCO after the ANCWL, ANC and MK rejected the “parachuting” of Tsipane into the ANC, saying the woman should begin at a branch level and be “equipped with capacity”. 

But it was revealed during the party’s 108 celebration in Ackerville, eMalahleni that SANCO had been divided over this. The SACP said they would campaign for nobody – will only wait for the results and support any elected individuals that branches will have seen fit to lead and who would respect alliance relations.

RELATED ALSO: Mpumalanga SACP calls on Tsipane and Ndlovu groupings to reach leadership consensus

Mabuza is also faced off with the troublesome Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, the ANC acting secretary in Mpumalanga who supports Ndlovu and whose name appeared in the 2019 list for candidates of Mpumalanga Premiership.

Mtshweni-Tsipane’s name was part of at least 6 candidates whose names were submitted in a report to the NEC for nomination as Premier by the Mpumalanga PEC on 11 May 2019.

Sources say amongst the names were Ntshalintshali, NEC members Reginah Mhaule and Violet Siwela as well as PEC member Jeneath Thabethe.

DD Mabuza currently focused on building support base for Refilwe Tsipane
ANC acting secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali

Each list contained three names and it was basically Mtshweni-Tsipane vs Ntshalintshali as Mtshweni-Tsipane appeared on one and Ntshalintshali on another.

SEE ALSO: Tensions between Tsipane, Ntshalintshali threatens to tear Mpumalanga further apart

Mabuza allegedly instructed both lists to be sent to the NEC, where he convinced the officials about Mpumalanga’s stability and continuity, saying to them on that May 2019 meeting that Tsipane has been on the job since he left her there in February 2018 and starting afresh would be costly to the province.

DD Mabuza currently focused on building support base for Refilwe Tsipane
ANC acting chairman Mandla Ndlovu who is a serious threat to deputy president David Mabuza’s favoured candidate Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane

While Mabuza is gradually losing Mpumalanga as his power base – he first lost his battle with KZN after he supported Nomsa Dube as Premier in 2019 against Sihle Zikalala, further irking the KZN bloc after their 2017 Nasrec beef over Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Last year Mabuza allegedly lost another battle with the ANCWL, when he tried to get President Bathabile Dlamini to appoint Tsipane as convener of the Mpumalanga ANCWL’s provincial task team to give her a legitimacy as a leader who should rise to power. But Dlamini was allegedly having none of it, and instead Tsipane’s ally and legislature speaker Busi Shiba was appointed the convener and Ndlovu’s ally Lydia Moroane the co-ordinator.

DD Mabuza currently focused on building support base for Refilwe Tsipane
DD Mabuza who is currently said to be focused on building a power base for Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, his favoured candidate for the ANC chairpersonship

“He has been moving in Mpumalanga and is now feeling more confident that she has a sufficient backing to ward off any challenge by Ndlovu,” the source is quoted saying on Mail & Guardian.

ALSO RELATED: Mpumalanga won’t be allowed to disrespect DD Mabuza

The RET forces in the ANC could bring in human settlement minister Lindiwe Sisulu to contest the position of deputy president, and national secretary Ace Magashule as President while the Ramaphosa camp could support him for re-election and health minister Zweli Mkhize as deputy president.

Mabuza’s spokeswoman Matshepo Seedat dismissed the claims that the deputy has been spending time in Mpumalanga working on ANC factional campaigns.

DD Mabuza currently focused on building support base for Refilwe Tsipane
Deputy president DD Mabuza (L) who is said to be hard at work trying to maintain control of the Mpumalanga province as the long-haul battle to take over power in the ANC lies in the distant horizon. PIC TimesLive

Seedat says Mabuza, who has disappeared from public view since the lockdown was imposed on 26 March 2020, has bee up and down convening official meetings, including making sure that Eskom is doing its job properly during this hard time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The deputy president has also been performing his duties as a member of the national executive committee and the national working committee of the ANC,” she told the Mail & Guardian.

“He is adhering to lockdown regulations while performing his constitutional duties as a deputy president,” Seedat said.

(edited by ZK)

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