Unite Ramaphosa, Dlamini-Zuma factions – MKMVA

Veterans say if members can go to conference and come out united, ANC will get majority of votes in 2019

Unite Ramaphosa, Dlamini-Zuma factions - MKMVA

15 March 2017

Johannesburg - Uniting the ANC's two leading factions is the only way to guarantee the party a majority in the 2019 elections, MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe said on Wednesday.

"If we can go to conference and come out united, the ANC will get majority in votes in 2019," Maphatsoe told News24.

The African National Congress is preparing for its elective conference in December amid deep divisions playing out in the party and in government.

Some members were backing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over as party leader from Jacob Zuma, while others favoured former AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Maphatsoe, a staunch Zuma supporter, said the party's December elective conference risked collapsing if they did not avoid a leadership battle.

To avoid this, the Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma factions had to agree on who should replace the ANC's current top six, Maphatsoe said.

Public support

The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA) was expected to back Dlamini-Zuma. Maphatsoe attended some of her campaign events.

The MKMVA would only say who it supported publicly once the ANC had opened the succession debate and after the elective conference. They would back a unifier.

The MKMVA's national executive committee (NEC) had said it wanted a non-contested conference and saw itself playing a unifying role.

"The ANC said we must not talk about names, but out there people are talking about comrades Cyril and Nkosazana. We would not be afraid to go to both candidates."

Maphatsoe was facing his own battle to stay at the helm of the association.

The MKMVA's council and its NEC had disagreed about the dates and delegates for the association's elective conference.

The council is made up of former senior Umkhonto we Sizwe commissars and generals, led by Siphiwe Nyanda.

Maphatsoe had dismissed earlier statements by MKMVA secretary general Dumi Nduli that they had conceded to the council's demand for the May conference to be brought forward.

The council wanted it held a few months before the ANC's June conference. Maphatsoe said the NEC rejected this.

"As the NEC of MKMVA, we have agreed on 25th May to 28th May and that decision still stands. It is unfortunate that our general secretary communicated something that was not discussed in the NEC meeting."

They would continue talking to one another as only a united MKMVA could help a divided ANC, he said.