ANC Chief Whip in Parliament Jackson Mthembi addresses his party members during a rally in Witbank in Mpumalanga. Picture: ANA Reporter

Witbank - African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip in Parliament Jackson Mthembu and the Mpumalanga leadership of the ruling party's three alliance partners on Friday, praised Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying he was an ideal candidate for the organisation’s presidential position. 

“Here is a leader who held two positions in the top six of the ANC as secretary general [in the past] and now as deputy president. He never stole from the government. He never stole from the public purse,” Mthembu said while addressing a crowd of about 3 000 ANC members inside a hall in Witbank in Mpumalanga.

The rally was part of Ramaphosa’s campaign in the build-up to the ANC’s national elective conference expected to be held in December. 

Speaking during the same event, Nkangala regional chairperson of the South African National Civic Organisation, Conny Nkalitshana, appealed to the members of her organisation to fully participate in the ANC’s branch general meetings (BGMs) and nominate Ramaphosa for the presidential position.

“We choose Cyril because we need someone with courage. We want someone with dignity, not someone who is going to work for his home,” said Nkalitshana.

ANC members dancing on the floor inside a hall while waiting for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to arrive for a rally in Witbank in Mpumalanga. Video: ANA Reporter

Provincial chairperson of the South African Communist Party (SACP) Bonakele Majuba also used the opportunity to take a swipe at President Jacob Zuma, saying he must step down as president of the country. 

He said SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande was axed from his position as minister of higher education and training in a recent Cabinet reshuffle because the “SACP was fighting corruption”.

"The person who reshuffled the GS [Nzimande] was supposed to reshuffle himself. That is why we are saying President Zuma must leave as soon as possible.”

Mpumalanga provincial chairman of Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Solly Phetoe said Ramaphosa was the only person who would unite the ANC.

“When we go to BGMs let us make sure we nominate correctly," said Phetoe.

Delivering the keynote address at the same gathering, Ramaphosa urged ANC members to avoid being swayed by other people to vote for other candidates at the conference, who were not nominated by their branches.