Gwede Mantashe and the African National Congress (ANC) have failed to put a lid on the practice of slate politics. Now, various options for a new party leadership are doing the rounds in the form of slates. Slates are lists of members who are preferred for certain top leadership positions, and are circulated for discussion within factions.
None of the slates are official. Some are said to be emanating from the camp of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, while others allegedly come from the ranks of the ANC's Women's and Youth Leagues.
Mantashe, ANC secretary-general, implored party members at the weekend to refrain from circulating slates because it will lead to division.
One string of instant messages doing the rounds — apparently within the Ramaphosa or "CR17" camp — say ANC Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize recently decided to throw his lot in with Ramaphosa. It is uncertain what position Mkhize is eying, although some messages reportedly say "KwaZulu-Natal wants the position of secretary-general".
One string of instant messages doing the rounds – apparently within the Ramaphosa or "CR17" camp – say ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize recently decided to throw his lot in with Ramaphosa.
In addition, it seems that the former deputy secretary-general and chairperson of the National House of Provinces, Thandi Modise, could make a political comeback as secretary-general. She served as Mantashe's deputy between 2007 and 2012.
According to this slate, there is no room for a woman at the top of the CR17 ticket, with the veteran Jeff Radebe down as Ramaphosa's deputy. There's also no mention of Mantashe, although the full slate isn't complete.
Another slate, of which this publication has seen strings of messages, proposes Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as president, Free State premier Ace Magashule as her deputy, North West premier Supra Mahumapelo as secretary-general and Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza as national chairperson. The three premiers on this list all form part of the so-called premier league, a faction that consists of those premiers and their acolytes.
The third slate doing the rounds is headed "ANCYL compromise and surprise list", and has Magashule and Dlamini-Zuma swopped around, with the former as president and latter as deputy. The list has former ANCYL secretary-general and KwaZulu-Natal official Sihle Zikalala down as secretary-general, Zuma ally Nomvula Mokonyane as deputy secretary-general, another Zuma supporter Maite Nkoana-Mashabane as treasurer-general and Mabuza as national chairperson.
Slate politics was a major cause of division before the national conference at Polokwane in 2007. The party adopted a resolution at the Mangaung conference in 2012 that condemned slate politics and the resulting division and factionalism. The resolution said the party needed to address the underlying issues that led to the emergence of slate politics and said it "must not be allowed to take root".