I am ready to be persuaded – Paul Mashatile on backing ANC presidential hopefuls
21 September 2017
Johannesburg – ANC Gauteng chair Paul Mashatile is open to being swayed in favour of a different presidential candidate if necessary, he said on Thursday as the party's provincial leaders struggle to ensure unity in the buildup to the national elective congress in December.
Speaking to journalists shortly after he addressed the Human Settlement Development Summit in Ekurhuleni, Mashatile, who is widely known to be on presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa's ticket, said he and other ANC chairpersons would do all they could to ensure that the party did not revert back to its pre- and post-Polokwane days.
"Pronouncing preferences doesn't mean you can't engage. Those who have pronounced have already said let's talk... even the deputy chair of KwaZulu-Natal, Willies Mchunu, said our decisions are not cast in stone, we are ready to be persuaded. That is the attitude of all of us. Yes, you have a preference but if others can persuade you differently you must be ready for that," Mashatile said.
The KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive has publicly announced its support for presidential candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Mashatile was part of a league of chairpersons that joined Mpumalanga chair David Mabuza during a provincial general council in his call for a united ANC and uncontested leadership election.
Branch audits not yet complete
He said the issue of unity was a "must for us".
"It's the only way. The other ways are taking us back to Polokwane. We are saying ‘can't we have one list?’"
Mashatile claims that he is not ruling anyone out for the top job.
Ramaphosa, Dlamini-Zuma, Lindiwe Sisulu, Baleka Mbete, Mathews Phosa, Jeff Radebe and Zweli Mkhize have all been campaigning across the country for the party's presidency.
Nominations officially opened for branches in six provinces last week. The party has concluded branch audits for Limpopo, Gauteng, Northern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga and the North West.
The party, however, is yet to complete audits for KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.
The audits determine the number of branches in good standing and the number of delegates that will represent each province at the elective conference.