He addressed scores with the vigour needed to ascend to the ANC’s highest office.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa believes in slates but wants the losing one to accept the winning one as their elected leaders for the sake of the survival of the ANC.
He said if he himself doesn’t win in December he will just “accept the decision of the majority” and rally his support behind the newly elected leadership.
Ramaphosa spoke during the Mpumalanga SACP’s Red October rally in Mbombela on Saturday and said that everyone – both candidates and delegates – will have to understand that what comes first is actually the ANC and not individuals.
“So comrades as we go to the conference we must know that this is an important conference,” Ramaphosa said at the Mbombela rugby stadium.
“Those leaders who are standing for positions and who will not succeed must accept that those who will be elected are their leaders,” he said.
“They must accept that what comes first is democratic centralism,” Ramaphosa said.
He delivered the keynote address at the communist event together with SACP national deputy chairman Thulas Nxesi.
“Myself as Cyril Ramaphosa if I don’t get enough votes we must accept the decision of the majority of the delegates of the conference,” the Deputy President told supporters in black CR17 t-shirts.
“I’m willing to accept the decision of the majority of the conference. If I don’t succeed, I will humble myself and accept the results and the leadership that will be elected,” he said to applause.
Ramaphosa will face off with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in December when the ANC convenes its 54th national congress.
The two are forerunners in the race to succeed outgoing President, Jacob Zuma, on 16-20 December.
Other runners who have declared their interests for the ANC presidency are Lindiwe Sisulu, Zweli Mkhize, Baleka Mbete and Mathews Phosa.
The ANC in the province snubbed the rally, saying it was told nothing about it and instead endorsed the one held by the ANCWL in KwaMhlanga, addressed by Dlamini-Zuma.
Bonakele Majuba, the party’s leader in Mpumalanga, thanked the crowds for coming despite being intimidated, apparently by leaders of branches aligned to ANC provincial leader DD Mabuza – who is opposed to Ramaphosa ascending to the highest ANC job.
“We know that some of you were stopped while you were coming here. Buses were stopped and some of you were even told that if you come here you will lose your jobs and all those kind of things,” Majuba said.
The marxist-leninist class was set to begin at 5pm.
Over 15 members allegedly of the African National Congress have disrupted an SACP political class, tearing off the programme papers that had been put on the desks.
The South African Communist Party in the Hlanzeni region of Mpumalanga published a photo they took of one of the men in ANC T-shirts who they say is one of those who stormed, disrupted the weekly communist class at the Matsulu community hall.
The party on its Facebook page on Wednesday night said the “chap” together with the others started singing songs praising provincial ANC chairman David Mabuza, bringing the class to a halt.
The SACP holds political classes every Wednesday where they learn about the work of founder Karl Marx and Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.
Other strugglers such as Chinese socialist founder Mao Zedong and Cuba’s Fidel Castro are quite often the subjects in SACP classes.
ANC secretary in the eHlanzeni region, Phazamisa Mathe, asked that the 013NEWS reporter wait until an investigation was done on what happened and whether the men were ANC members.
“I’ll do an investigation and tell you,” Mathe said on Thursday.
But those who attended the class said the men in ANC T-shirts outnumbered the about 10 “or a bit more” SACP members who had booked the hall to come study communism.
“The secretary of the region, Bhobert Nkosi, the treasurer Gabriel Mabuya and Tom Nkosi were there,” one communist attendee told 013NEWS on Thursday morning.
“What I saw is that we were just about to start and then the group stormed in, singing comrade Mabuza’s songs, about 15 or 16 of them and they tore off the programmes on the desks and we left,” the attendee said.
Nkosi confirmed the incident but said the SACP in the region still have to speak to the ANC.
“We’re having a meeting with them on Sunday as they are an interested party and then we will speak to the media,” Bhobert said.
This is not the first time the ANC and SACP clash in the Mbombela area.
In January 2015, a group of men wearing T-shirts stormed a lecture that was to be delivered by former Mpumalanga premier Mathews Phosa on slain Mbombela council speaker Jimmy Mohlala.
Mohlala, an SACP regional leader, was killed in 2010 after he blew the lid on alleged corruption involving the construction of the Mbombela stadium.