The ANC succession battle has moved up a gear after Cyril Ramaphosa took an extraordinary step of announcing a team he wants to lead the governing party together with. File picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

The ANC succession battle moved up a gear on Sunday after Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa took an extraordinary step of announcing a team he wants to lead the governing party together with.

The unusual move saw Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu dropped as the potential deputy to Ramaphosa.

The former trade union leader’s decision was a bit abnormal given the tradition of party’s leaders not to publicly reveal those they want to lead with.

It also opened him to accusations that he was openly factional and pushing politics of slates, which have been attributed to the weakening of the party.

Speaking at his campaign rally at Tafelkop Stadium in the Sekhukhune district Limpopo, Ramaphosa said he wanted ANC Science and Technology minister Naledi Pandor as his deputy when the ruling party's elective congress next month.

Ramaphosa also openly told the large crowd of supporters that he wanted former KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairman and premier, Senzo Mchunu to be secretary-general of the party. 

"These are the leaders that will take the organisation forward and rebuild it. We want to build a team and the team we want to build is called 'The Winning Team'," Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa has lined up current ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe as the party's national chairman and Gauteng chairman Paul Mashatile as treasurer general.

Sunday's rally was part of Ramaphosa's intense two-day campaign trail in the province which started on Saturday.

The campaign in Vhembe and Sekhukhune included meetings with kings, traditional leaders and ANC members who have already been nominated as delegates to the elective national congress.

Limpopo is one of the provinces where Ramaphosa and another presidential hopeful, former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, are in an intense  battle. 

Mantashe's official installation in Ramaphosa's slate comes as no suprise as he has been agitating for Ramaphosa to be allowed to succeed President Jacob Zuma on the basis of a principle of the deputy succeeding the incumbent.

Mchunu has been one of a few ANC leaders heading Ramaphosa's campaign in KwaZulu-Natal, considered to be presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's stronghold.

Among senior ANC leaders who accompanied Ramaphosa in his Limpopo campaign trail were NEC members Mathole Motshekga and Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi whom he said he wanted in party's national executive.

Sekhukhune district executive mayor and deputy regional chairman Stan Ramaila said the region is behind Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa said deep-seated corruption among those who currently lead the party has resulted in the loss of hope in the party's ability to transform the country in the interest of the majority.

"We want the president to set up that commission of inquiry so that all those stealing our money are identified and made to bring it back.

Political Bureau