Jonas plays down return to politics in province

Former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas
Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA. © Business Day.

Former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas could return to provincial politics – if his Uitenhage ANC branch has its way.

The ANC’s Ward 46 (Mzwabantu Fanayo) in Nelson Mandela Bay has nominated Jonas to take over from Phumulo Masualle as the next provincial chairman.

The provincial ANC will hold an elective conference in July.

Mzwabantu Fanayo is where Jonas was born and remains an active member, according to branch chairman Simphiwo Madlavu.

He said Jonas’s name as Masualle’s possible successor had come out tops at a recent branch meeting.

“It is time to take a new direction with new faces and fresh ideas to lead the province so we are looking at comrades such as bhuti Mcebisi to take the lead,” he said.

“The ANC, as wounded as it is, will require people with credibility such as comrade Jonas to bring the ANC in the province back into the map of national politics.”

Jonas was dropped from President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet during the recent reshuffle. He subsequently resigned as an MP.

Jonas’s spokesman, Nkosohlanga Mboniswa, who worked as a director in Jonas’s office while he was deputy minister, said Jonas was not keen to return to provincial politics.

“Mr Jonas has no interest in serving in the provincial ANC leadership, not at this stage,” he said.

“But he will respect party nomination processes to unfold in this regard, so anything is speculation for now.”

Mboniswa said Jonas had since moved his ANC membership to the Gonubie branch where he lived.

Should Jonas accept the nomination, it would not be the first time he contested for the provincial chairmanship, after standing in the 2009 Riverpark conference where he lost to Masualle.

Madlavu said: “The circumstances are different now. We believe he is one of those who can assist to take the province forward, given the alternatives that are there.”

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