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Johannesburg - The Gauteng ANC has officially endorsed President Jacob Zuma as the party’s presidential candidate, but is noncommittal on Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s future in the province.
It said the provincial executive committee would decide whether to retain her as premier after the ANC’s national list conference.
The ANC-led tripartite alliance in the province made the announcement on Thursday ahead of the unveiling of their provincial election manifesto at the Atteridgeville Stadium in Tshwane on Sunday.
ANC provincial secretary David Makhura – who is tipped to be the ANC’s premier candidate – told the media that the provincial executive committee under Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile had the prerogative to appoint the premier.
The ANC national executive committee overlooked Mashatile for the premiership in 2009, in favour of Mokonyane, much to the dismay of Mashatile’s supporters.
Now, the ANC in Gauteng said a decision on who becomes the new premier would be taken after the ANC’s national list conference at a date yet to be determined.
The conference was postponed from December 8 and 9 due to Nelson Mandela’s death.
“The ANC and alliance structures have full confidence in the leadership of President Jacob Zuma. Accordingly, he was voted number one on the national-to-national list for Parliament at the provincial list conference held on October 31, 2013,” Makhura said.
“After the national list conference, the ANC’s provincial executive would then recommend three names for the position of premier of the province to the national executive committee of the ANC. A decision on the premiership would be taken later after our recommendation.”
Makhura was flanked by SACP provincial secretary Jacob Mamabolo and Gauteng Cosatu secretary Dumisani Dakile at the media event.
The trio evaded questions about Mokonyane’s future, including speculation that the Gauteng ANC wanted to send her to the National Assembly for a possible cabinet post.
They also refused to reveal whether Mokonyane would be retained in the province, following Luthuli House’s recommendations that at least 60 percent of serving politicians in all nine provincial legislatures must be retained.
Despite internal differences, Makhura and his team were confident that the ANC would obtain more than 70 percent of the votes in the elections.
Makhura dismissed recent surveys which suggested that the ANC was likely to achieve less than 50 percent of the votes in Gauteng due to Zuma’s unpopularity among the middle class.
“The ANC conducts its own research, and it’s through direct contact with the people. Our confidence is based on what people are telling us when we visit them at their homes,” Makhura said. He cast doubt on the veracity of the surveys. He said they were often proved wrong by the outcomes of national elections.
Makhura also denied speculations that e-tolls would affect the ANC’s election campaign.
He said the Gauteng government and the three metropolitan councils were rapidly rolling out public transport to suburban areas. This would encourage people, particularly the middle class, to consider using public transport to work.
The Gauteng ANC welcomed an investigation into those who booed Zuma during Mandela’s memorial service on December 10. Speculation at the time was rife that the provincial leaders were behind the booing.