News / South Africa / Politics
Alex Japho Matlala
If calls by the ANC Youth League for a generational mix are anything to go by, then in December, when the ANC holds its 55th national elective conference, Justice and Correctional Service Minister Ronald Lamola may make history to become the first young deputy president of the ANC since 1912.
Calls have been mounting for the 38-year-old leader to stand for the top post.
The position is currently been held by former Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza and he is unlikely to go quietly.
“Yes, we want Lamola to contest for the position. He is young, active and has grown within the ranks to be what and who he is today,” said Lamola’s political camarilla in Limpopo, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Lamola, however, said he would only make pronouncements, if any, at the “right time” but agreed a generational mix was a necessity for the “glorious movement”.
“The ANC does need a generational mix in the top six and all its structures. Generational mix has been part of all ANC structures from time immemorial,” he said.
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“This has helped renew and re-energise the ANC. Youthful members of the ANC should not be apologetic to avail themselves to responsibilities bestowed on them by structures of the ANC.”
If nominated, the former Mchaka High School pupil in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, who graduated as a lawyer at the University of Venda in Limpopo, will not be alone.
The first cadre who threw his hat in the ring was former Limpopo ANC Youth League chair Boy Mamabolo, who has the backing of several branches in the province, especially in his hometown of Seshego and in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape.
“We are currently busy with the campaign for #BM24DP (Boy Mamabolo 2024 Deputy President),” said a Mamabolo supporter, Thando Ndoda, of ward 55 in the Nelson Mandela Bay.
“We are running the campaign very strategically in the Nelson Mandela and Mathole regions and we are also focusing our campaign in all the other regions in the province.
“We want to see the young generation of our lifetime take over within the ranks of the ANC.”
Another Mamabolo supporter from Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was time for the older generation to go home and take care of their grandchildren and give young people a chance to take the lead in the ANC.
Many party leaders in Limpopo believe contestation for the ANC top six will only happen in deputy president, secretary-general, deputy secretary-general and treasurer-general positions.
But some feared President Cyril Ramaphosa’s road for re-election may be bumpy if the radical economic transformation (RET) faction had anything to do with it.
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Independent political analyst Elvis Masoga couldn’t agree more.
“The RET faction does not possess any credible leader who can serve as a presidential alternative to Ramaphosa,” Masoga said.
“The RET brigade is rich in populist fury and loudness, but lacking in visionary prowess and strategic political idealism. The RET forces are obsessed with Ramaphosa’s downfall, but are clinically unable to offer an alternative future for the ANC.
“That explains why rival factions in the party are mysteriously united behind Ramaphosa’s presidency. Despite the persisting factional antagonism in the ANC, [Ramaphosa] is much likely to be re-elected unopposed as party president,” Masoga said.