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There’s no tension between us — Madikizela

ANC National Chair Gwede Mantashe speaks to the two front runners for the EC provincial chairmanship, Oscar Mabuyane and Babalo Madikizela.
ANC National Chair Gwede Mantashe speaks to the two front runners for the EC provincial chairmanship, Oscar Mabuyane and Babalo Madikizela.

Despite being on opposing sides and contesting for the position of Eastern Cape provincial chair, Babalo Madikizela says he and Oscar Mabuyane remain close friends- in fact they are like brothers.

Speaking to Sowetan ahead of the Eastern Cape conference adopting credentials, Madikizela said he felt good about his numbers.

Drenched from singing alongside his lobby group Maliya, Madikizela said his supporters had put up a good fight against all odds.

During a late-night meeting on Thursday, Madikizela alluded to attempts of bribery in exchange for votes. He went as far as telling conference delegates and his supporters at the Absa stadium in East London to take the bribery money but “remain focused and but vote the right way.”

Asked about his relationship with Mabuyane since the two were contesting each other for provincial chair, Madikizela said they were still friends. 

“My relationship with Mabuyane is still the same. We’re still friends, we’re more than friends, we’re more like brothers. Our relationship is solid, we talk almost every day. We’re fine and organisationally we’re still comrades so there’s aren’t any issues,” he said.

Madikizela is competing against Mabuyane who is seeking re-election and also against Eastern Cape deputy speaker in the legislature Mlibo Qoboshiyane.

Asked if he would accept nomination should the time come, he said yes but added he was prepared to accept whatever outcome conference produced.

“If he (Mabuyane) emerges I will support him with everything that I can and everyone who listens to me, I’ll tell them the same.

“We’re working together even now, it’s just contest. There’s no tensions. It’s part of the ANC’s democratic processes. The term has expired, it’s a new term and it doesn’t mean because we’re contesting we’re not working,” Madikizela said.

By Saturday evening conference fever had reached peak levels after an urgent application brought on by delegates from Dr WB Rubusana was dismissed.

The court action sought to interdict wards that sat branch general meetings between February and March from participating and voting in the conference.

Judge Justin Laing ruled the application did not meet the threshold for urgency. 

Throughout Saturday, Mabuyane and Madikizela put up a united front with the two photographed holding hands and sharing intimate moments.

The conference has about 1,500 voting delegates including 200 invited guests.