ANC Gauteng chair hopeful David Makhura has called on ANC members to stop asking the EFF to return to the political party, as horse trading intensifies ahead of the nomination and election of new provincial leaders.

“Stop talking about the EFF’s need to come home and focus on the problems of our people,” Makhura said as a packed hall of party delegates in Irene, Pretoria applauded on Friday.

The EFF was formed after its leader Julius Malema – who was as the former leader of the ANC Youth League – was expelled from the liberation movement.

Makhura, who is the outgoing acting chairperson, delivered a long and detailed political report assessing the state of the ANC, the work done by its government, and considerations the party needed to make ahead of the 2019 national elections.

“The ANC needs to focus its [energy] on finding sustainable solutions to the problems faced by South Africans, instead of constantly being reactive to the EFF,” Makhura continued.

READ: The ANC government has neglected coloured communities – Makhura

Numerous leaders in the ANC, including President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy, David “DD” Mabuza, have called on the EFF to return home.

Makhura, who is also the premier of the province, said the upcoming general elections would be a “contest between the politics of hope and the politics of fear”.

In his analysis of the current state of politics in Gauteng, Makhura said the ANC presented a progressive and persuasive case for a better future for everyone as opposed to what he termed the politics of “fear” and “resentment”, represented by the DA and the EFF, which he said were in a “toxic coalition”.

Makhura, with former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu on the stage as part of ANC Gauteng’s provincial executive committee, also commented on the Life Esidimeni tragedy in which 144 psychiatric patients lost their lives. He said it inflicted deep wounds and pain in the country and added that it was also an example of the challenges the ANC faced when it came to cadre deployment.

“Correctly speaking, cadre deployment is about assigning cadres who are trained and thoroughly prepared to take responsibilities and missions they can execute,” said Makhura.

Mzwandile must stand

Meanwhile, delegates moved in and out of the conference venue and many were summoned to caucuses to discuss the nomination process, which is expected to take place on Friday evening.

Several delegates told News24 they wanted freshly-re-elected ANC Ekurhuleni chairperson Mzwandile Masina to be nominated for the position of provincial treasurer from the floor.

“Mzwandile must stand. He has the kind of stature required to take on Parks [Tau],” said one regional leader.

Two slates, which want different members of the party to field four of the top five posts, have emerged. They all seemed to agree that Makhura must lead, even though former Tshwane chairperson and mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa’s name appeared on the ballot as an alternative.

One group, comprising mostly young members of the ANC, wants to see Economic Development MEC Lebogang Maile become deputy chairperson, former Emfuleni mayor Jacob Khawe elected as provincial secretary, Nomanto Nkomo as his deputy secretary and Ekurhuleni’s chairperson Mzwandile Masina as treasurer.

This is at odds with the other slate, which wants to see Education MEC Panyanza Lesufi appointed as Makhura’s number two, ANC West Rand’s former chairperson Boysie Maneli as provincial secretary, Dr Rebecca Dikgamela as his deputy and the deputy and Tau as treasurer.

The position that Masina was being lobbied for was previously offered to Lesufi as a compromise and a way to make space for both him and Maile in the leadership contest.

Earlier reports that Maile had bowed out of the race were dismissed and the Economic Development MEC said he was still available for the post.

The provincial conference draws to a close on Sunday.

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