ANC leaders want ‘win-win’ for Masualle and Mabuyane

ANC national leaders want the party in the Eastern Cape to retain Phumulo Masualle as premier until next year.

This is after the national executive committee, which met in Cape Town at the weekend, officially endorsed the Oscar Mabuyane-led provincial executive committee.

The recommendation to allow Masualle to lead until next year’s elections, even though his provincial executive council would be reshuffled, is seen as an attempt to appease the warring factions within the party, as the ANC races against time to launch its campaign for next year’s general elections.

This followed a fierce debate over the credibility of the findings of the Sbu Ndebele task team which recommended that Mabuyane’s executive be disbanded.

A senior NEC member confirmed the developments, saying: “It was decided that the Sbu Ndebele report be noted and put aside and then a political process be pursued.

“This is aimed at uniting and building the organisation.

“So it’s a win-win situation if you like – the PEC remains and Phumulo remains as premier.

“This is to force them to work together because they hate each other,” the source, who was part of the NEC meeting, said.

The “deal” was brokered after the contents of the Ndebele report were discussed by those for and against it, before President Cyril Ramaphosa summed up the debate by announcing that the Mabuyane-led PEC would remain in office but Masualle would also remain the premier.

ANC provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi would not be drawn into discussing details of what happened behind closed doors on Sunday.

He would only say: “The Ndebele report was noted and set aside. The PEC was affirmed.”

The NEC member said, however, the cabinet reshuffle was still on the cards.

“Two months ago, the PEC came and made representations to the national officials about how the provincial government was performing.

“So this will allow for the PEC to make changes to the provincial cabinet [executive council] in consultation with the national officials.

“That is the essence of the decision,” the source said.

The decision ends months of confusion and uncertainty within the ANC and the provincial government as to who is in charge – Mabuyane or Masualle – as the two have been at loggerheads since the chaotic elective conference in East London.

Ngcukayitobi tabled the NEC report to the PEC yesterday. While some PEC members said they would argue against the shelving of Masualle’s recall as premier, others believed it was a step in the right direction in unifying ANC members in the Eastern Cape.

One PEC member said it would be naive for the NEC to expect the PEC to accept such a deal.

“Why do they want to dictate to us, knowing fully well that Phumulo is defying this PEC.” – Daily Dispatch