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Outgoing ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize delivered a shock announcement when he rejected a nomination for the position of ANC deputy president.
He had received 193 nominations from the Eastern Cape to replace Cyril Ramaphosa, who is vying for the position of president.
“I want to acknowledge all the nominations and all the work the comrades have done, but I have been engaging with a number of comrades here who would like to contribute in strengthening and building the unity in this organisation. So, from that level I would like to withdraw from the nomination,” said Mkhize.
The treasurer general, who was once described as the protégé of outgoing ANC president Jacob Zuma, had previously denied being closeto the slates for presidential candidates, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa.
His home province, which is the conference’s largest delegation, threw its support behind Mabuza for the deputy president post.
“How would he succeed when he didn’t even have the support of his own province?” one KwaZulu-Natal official asked.
Mkhize’s withdrawal opens the way for Mabuza or Lindiwe Sisulu to take the position. Sisulu is likely to receive a chunk of the votes from the Eastern Cape, which is firmly behind Ramaphosa’s bid for presidency.
There is speculation that Mkhize has struck a deal with Ramaphosa, which will see him become a member of the ANC’s national executive committee and join the national treasury as deputy minister.