Ramaphosa must go: Cabinet minister tells South Africa

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ANC secretary-general contender and former Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle has expressed confidence that his campaign for the top post is enjoying success, despite not getting the blessing of the party leadership in his home province.

While he did not get official backing from the leadership of his province, unlike his running mate and presidential hopeful Zweli Mkhize, who has been endorsed by the KwaZulu-Natal leadership, Masualle is pinning his hopes on ordinary branches.

“I am actually happy at the groundswell of support I have from the Eastern Cape. What we are likely to see in the province is a popular view emerging from within branches, that does not really say the same as the preference of the leadership.


"That reality is already playing itself out,” he said. He added that he was also comforted by his nomination by other provinces without having made much effort to convince them.

Masualle, a former party provincial chairperson, had lost his 2017 re-election bid to incumbent Premier Oscar Mabuyane, who is now vying for the deputy president position on Ramaphosa’s slate.

Masualle made clear his desire to have Ramaphosa replaced at the conference, as he said the party had been weakened under his leadership.

"The first person to receive the wrath of the spectators is the team captain when the team does not perform. I’m not really personal, but it is just a view that I have. For what we need to do, we definitely need a change in the captaincy of the team, so as to inspire the organisation anew in so far as the things that need to happen within the ANC and make it appeal to broader society."

“Even in business, if you have got an opportunity to put a fresh strategy in place, you have to re-look at those who have been at the helm, not because they are not useful but they may not be that useful to that strategy that you need to take. I share the view that we need to change,” Masualle said.

He criticised the fact that the current leadership had allowed the party to weaken over the past years, to such an extent that it was unable to effectively direct government policy implementation and hold people to account over failure to fulfil electoral promises.

“There is a very big imbalance to the extent that you can say we have a situation where the tail is wagging the dog kind of scenario. We should have a stronger ANC, independent of government,” he said.

Masualle said the party had been so institutionally weakened that it was not able to run its own internal affairs.

“Just to give you a classic example, we have a situation right now where the ANC is unable to honour payments to its own employees. This has been coming over a long time.

"We have ignored issues to do with ensuring the independent capacity of the ANC to be able to service itself as an organisation so that it can be a source of influence to society and government,” he said.

Masualle expressed support for calls for the amendment of the contentious step-aside rule to ensure that it was widely accepted within the party and not seen as a weapon to selectively neutralise opponents and violate rights of members.

Several senior ANC leaders facing corruption and other serious criminal charges have been suspended and barred from contesting for leadership within the party through the use of the rule, including embattled secretary-general Ace Magashule.

He said: "There is a sentiment that the rule violates members’ rights and is against established universal principles. There is a sentiment that it is being used selectively to castigate and marginalise some."

“We are a very big organisation, so all of that should be discussed and [we should] look at where we need to tweak it such that it becomes free of those perceptions,” he said.

Masualle denounced sentiments that he was a standby candidate for his faction in case Magashule was effectively barred from contesting re-election for the position if the plan to fight the rule failed.

“I cannot consider myself as a seat warmer (for Magashule) because there is no one who has a seat until the conference has been decided,” he said.

Masualle is currently going up against Mdumiseni Ntuli and Fikile Mbalula, who have been endorsed mainly by Ramaphosa’s lobby for the secretary-general position.


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