Mashatile says he ‘will join government’ if called upon as ANC gala dinner sells out



African National Congress (ANC) deputy president Paul Mashatile is ready to replace David Mabuza if called upon by the ruling party.

Mabuza’s decision to decline his nomination at the ANC’s 55th national elective conference cleared the way for Mashatile, who defeated Ronald Lamola and Eastern Cape ANC chairperson Oscar Mabuyane, for the deputy president position.

ALSO READ: Mashatile playing a hawk’s role in uncertain times

According ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, whether Mabuza will continue in his role will be known in the two weeks after the incumbent deputy president also failed to make the ruling party’s national committee (NEC).

Speaking to the media at Heroes’ Acre in Phahameng cemetery in Bloemfontein on Friday, Mashatile said he was ready to serve as South Africa’s second-in-command.

“For now I have been elected as the deputy president of the ANC and work at Luthuli House. If I get invited to government at some point, I will join them,” he said.

Reshuffle

There has been growing calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa to reshuffle his Cabinet to make way for new NEC members.

Besides Mabuza, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor and Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu among others were also not voted back onto the NEC. 

READ MORE: Instead of a cabinet reshuffle, Ramaphosa needs to clean house

But the president has indicated he will decide on a Cabinet reshuffle when he has “applied his mind”.

“Wait for the moment when the president has applied his mind and stop asking when is that going to happen. The president will apply his mind, and as always, we will be coming to you all and the nation and telling you what will happen,” he said on Friday ahead of ANC’s golf day celebrations. 

“Relax, have a cup of coffee, sit back and watch this space,” Ramaphosa added.

The president’s last changes to his government took place in August 2021.

ANC birthday celebrations

Meanwhile, the ANC will hold its annual January 8 Statement celebrations this Sunday at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Mangaung, Free State, to mark its 111th anniversary since its formation in 1912.

According to Mbalula, the party had sorted all the issues pertaining to safety regulations of the stadium.

Concerns about the facility were raised by the metro’s acting city manager, Tebogo Motlashuping, in a letter dated 21 December 2022.

READ MORE: No exclusion from load shedding for ANC during January 8 celebrations

Motlashuping warned that the northern part of the stadium “sunk after construction, toilet facilities were vandalised, there was no running water from the taps and no electrical or fire certificates were available”.

The stadium has a capacity of 15 000 and the ANC expects the stadium to be full to capacity.

The ANC held host a golf day on Friday and a gala dinner will take place on Saturday.

The gala dinner seat has since been been sold out, according to the ANC.

The prices for the dinner were exorbitant with individual chairs starting at R5 000 and going up to R95 000.

Tables range from R760 000 to R1.2 million.

Additional reporting Thapelo Lekabe.


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