Nzimande was delivering the keynote address on Sunday at the 24th commemoration of the death of the late anti-apartheid stalwart Joe Slovo in Soweto, Johannesburg, which was also attended by leaders of other alliance partners, the ANC and Cosatu.
ANC heavyweights have already descended on KZN to drum up support for the much-anticipated celebrations scheduled for Saturday, which will be followed by the party’s manifesto launch for the upcoming general elections.
Nzimande said some within the province were hell-bent on sabotaging Ramaphosa’s leadership in the build-up activities.
“It cannot be that when the president has a programme in KwaZulu-Natal in the lead-up to the 12th, that there will be others who are countering President Cyril Ramaphosa in what he is doing there.
“This is factionalism and dividing the movement and we must fight and defeat it,” Nzimande said.
In what appeared to be a clear swipe at supporters of former president Jacob Zuma - who has been roped in by the ANC in KZN to assist the campaign - Nzimande blasted what he called “a cult of loving personalities” in the ANC ahead of the elections, saying that even Struggle icon Nelson Mandela was not above the ANC.
“Today we are told that we can’t campaign for elections without a particular person being present because the ANC will not win. Where does that come from? There is no one who is bigger than our movement, not a single individual,” Nzimande said.
He called for the defence of Ramaphosa and the ANC against those who were fighting the clean-up of state institutions and exposure of state capture, which he said was also being done through the formation of new political parties.
“You see, these smallanyana parties that are being formed - but people are still associating themselves with the ANC - watch that thing closely. The aim is to reduce the majority of the ANC or to ensure that the ANC wins with such a slight majority that it has no authority to deal with corruption and state capture, among other things,” he said. Controversial SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng has already announced the establishment of his political party, which will contest the elections, while another Zuma ally, Mzwandile Manyi, has hinted at announcing his new political party this week.
Cosatu general secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali, called on the ANC to emulate its Northern Cape structure in selecting its public representatives.
This comes after all the nominated candidates on its list for provincial legislature were revealed to have degrees.
“Others have two and others have three and the chairperson of the province holds a doctorate degree. They are not going to need an interpreter when there is a debate.
“They will understand what is at stake and they will be able to engage constructively. This is a good lesson for the movement,” he said.