UMHLATHUZE mayor Zakhele Mnqayi; right; and deputy mayor Celiwe Madlopha at an open meeting with the media last week PICTURE: MARIE STRACHAN

Pietermaritzburg - In a surprise move, the ANC Women’s League in KwaZulu-Natal has ditched the incumbent, Kgalema Motlanthe, and nominated businessman Cyril Ramaphosa for the position of ANC deputy president.

It has also expressed a desire for Jacob Zuma to serve a second term as president.

Dropping Motlanthe from the list came as a surprise to observers, as some Zuma supporters have been cautious, saying they would support Motlanthe for the position of deputy president provided he did not run for the presidency.

Denying that the move was informed by the “politics of slates”, league provincial chairwoman, Celiwe Madlopha, said Ramaphosa had a proven track record as a loyal and dedicated leader of the ANC.

“Ramaphosa understands business and (as a former trade unionist) he understands the workers can help the organisation. Also, he has appeal to the youth… We did an assessment and we understand that Motlanthe has his strengths, but there is only one position.”

Madlopha was speaking on the sidelines of its provincial general council in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

After the meeting the league said that while it was all for continuity in the ANC leadership, it believed that new blood should be introduced to learn from existing leaders.

The league also wants Matthews Phosa and Thandi Modise to be removed as treasurer and deputy secretary respectively. The two leaders are believed to be among those lobbying for Motlanthe to take over from Zuma as president.

But the league said that there were other reasons why it wanted these leaders removed.

It said that Modise was a bit “stretched” following her appointment as Premier of the North West province. It wants her replaced by Jessie Duarte.

“We nominated Jessie Duarte because we believe that other races should be represented as well, because we are a non-racial organisation.”

Madlopha said the 11 regions had unanimously agreed that Phosa should be replaced by KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize as treasurer-general. Mkhize had been nominated because of his experience in fundraising for the organisation and also because he had served in the government treasury.

While there were fears that Mkhize’s election to the post could destabilise the province, the league said it was not worried. If elected into the position, Mkhize would have to vacate his position as premier and provincial chairman of the ANC.


“We believe that we have the cream and a pool of leadership in this province (capable of taking over),” she said.

The nominations for the leadership of the ANC continued this weekend in parts of the province.

All branches are expected to wrap up their nominations before the provincial nominations conference, expected to be held on November 24 and 25.

Some of the bigger branches in eThekwini have failed to meet because they did not form a quorum. Other meetings have been delayed by infighting.

Last week the branch general meeting of ward 74 in Lamontville had to be postponed after members clashed over lists of branch members.

Chaos erupted as members questioned some of the names that appeared on the list.

Former police commission-er Bheki Cele is a member. - Daily News