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Johannesburg - Some ANC leaders from Gauteng and Limpopo are taking seriously claims that President Jacob Zuma’s home province – KwaZulu-Natal – has hatched a plan to dominate the party for the next 20 years.
Five independent sources said provincial and national leaders from these provinces have been holding private and informal meetings in recent weeks to discuss a plan to publicly endorse party deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa as Zuma’s successor in 2017.
ANC sources said the group believe media reports that KZN wants to block Ramaphosa’s ascendancy to power for tribal reasons.
The sources – including two leaders from Limpopo, a senior national government official, a Gauteng ANC activist and a source with links to Luthuli House – spoke on condition of anonymity.
They said the leaders planned to endorse Ramaphosa on the basis of what they say is a principle in the ANC that the party’s deputy president automatically succeeds the incumbent.
KZN ANC secretary Sihle Zikalala has however rejected the suggestions that his province planned to oppose Ramaphosa’s candidacy or rule the ANC for two decades. “One, KwaZulu-Natal doesn’t have a 20-year plan. Two, here in KZN we discuss issues of leadership within ANC structures,” Zikalala said.
A source said ANC leaders from Limpopo discussed the matter informally a few weeks ago on the sidelines of meetings held to prepare for upcoming regional and provincial conferences.
Limpopo ANC provincial task team spokesman Sello Lediga said “we are completely unaware of such a discussion”.
A Gauteng-based Limpopo leader said although he viewed claims of a 20-year plan as a rumour, he was aware of concerns in the ANC generally about KwaZulu-Natal’s perceived dominance.
“Everything is driven from KwaZulu-Natal and that makes people angry. There are very strong feelings about that,” he said.
Interestingly, Limpopo and Gauteng did not support Zuma’s re-election in Mangaung.