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  • The South African National Parks will be sending a chopper as soon as the fog lifts to locate five lions that have escaped from the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga.
    The lions were last spotted on the crossing of the N4 free way and Mananga road near Komatipoort yesterday morning.
    SANParks spokesperson Rey Thakhuli said that rangers suspected they might have split up due to disturbances by people and were roaming in the sugarcane fields in the area.
    “It has been difficult to move in because of the thick fog in the area, but once it is clear we will send a chopper and a vet to dart the animals,” Thakhuli said.
    He warned people not to take photos of the lions as they were dangerous.
    “We urge people to refrain from taking photographs of these animals as they are dangerous predators … and believed to have already killed a cow,” said Thakhuli.
    Thakhuli said the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency was leading the search with support from SANParks and the police.
    He said anyone who sees the lions should report to authorities on 0800 10111, 076 801 9679 or 013 735 0197.
    He said investigations were under way to determine how the lions managed to leave the confines of the park.
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    Helping others has nothing to do with the campaign trail - Dlamini-Zuma
    Presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s lobbyists, who are furiously shopping for candidates for her list, have been hoping to woo current ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to be her deputy.
    So far, only Free State premier and provincial chairperson Ace Magashule has a confirmed position on Dlamini-Zuma’s list – as secretary-general. The Dlamini-Zuma camp wants to consolidate a “unity” ballot that they hope will be more appealing than the lists of other presidential candidates.
    City Press understands that KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Sihle Zikalala and some of his lieutenants met Mantashe as recently as two weeks ago to try to persuade him to join their camp. But Mantashe, whose home province is the Eastern Cape, and who’d rather be deputy president on the Cyril Ramaphosa ticket, is believed to have turned them down. Mantashe is apparently wary of serving with Magashule, whose monarchial leadership style and proximity to the Gupta family are sources for concern.
    Zikalala confirmed the talks with Mantashe, but said engagements between the two were “in the context of consultation that will inform formal discussion once the official [lobbying] process starts”.
    Responding to City Press’ information that Mantashe had turned them down, Zikalala said: “If you are saying he declined, that is great.”
    Mantashe told City Press the engagement did not necessarily amount to “bargaining” for positions, but was merely “looking at various permutations”. “There is no bargaining, [but] comrades are engaging one another,” he said.
    An ANC leader in KwaZulu-Natal’s eThekwini region said that some regional leaders and Zikalala had met with Mantashe ahead of his visit to the Ukhahlamba region for the OR Tambo Memorial Lecture in Wembezi township, Estcourt. The leader said Mantashe had then agreed to stand as deputy to Dlamini-Zuma.
    “He gave the proposal the green light. I’m surprised to hear now that he turned it down.”
    The source said “the negotiating principle in our drive has been the issue of how to unify and bring people on board [and] that was why we spoke to the secretary-general”.
    “The Eastern Cape agrees, KwaZulu-Natal agrees and the Free State agrees. I wouldn’t know yet about Mpumalanga and North West, but there is an acceptance of him for that reason.”
    Zikalala said he had had numerous engagements with Mantashe in his capacity as secretary-general of the ANC. “My view has always been about persuading comrades on the question of unity and that all comrades must come together and unite and then focus on that unity,” he said.
    “Our key strategic approach towards the national conference is around unity, uncompromisingly advancing radical economic transformation and rooting out factionalism and corruption.”
    City Press heard that, so far, the Dlamini-Zuma camp only had two names on her slate.
    “Three weeks ago, [President Jacob Zuma] agreed in a meeting that it is Nkosazana and Ace,” said a Zuma inner-circle source.
    “They have to go out and find other people,” he said. Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, himself bidding for the top job, is also being considered as a potential deputy for Dlamini-Zuma. However, the proposal prompted questions around the desirability of having both the party president and deputy coming from the same province.
    “But the counter-argument was that the ANC is a unitary organisation and it is not defined by provinces,” he said.
    The Dlamini-Zuma camp is also being driven by the need for someone who legitimises her campaign in the same way that Ramaphosa did for Zuma’s 2012 campaign at the Mangaung national conference.
    A KwaZulu-Natal ANC Youth League insider said the overwhelming sentiment in the camp was for Dlamini-Zuma to be president and Magashule to be secretary-general. However, he said the league in KwaZulu-Natal preferred Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa as secretary-general.
    The Mpumalanga chapter of the league is steadfast on ANC provincial chairperson and Premier David Mabuza becoming the deputy president.
    Mabuza, who was once at the centre of the pro-Dlamini-Zuma “premier league”, is now playing hard to get and is dangling the Mpumalanga block vote in front of Ramaphosa’s campaigners.
    The youth league leader said Zikalala’s group wanted unity in order to avoid a bruising contest in December.
    Despite the KwaZulu-Natal provincial leadership being clear on its support for Dlamini-Zuma, combined with the president’s endorsement of his ex-wife, her campaign is stuttering at grassroots level.
    Up until now, all regions in KwaZulu-Natal have been silent on their positions. Even Zuma’s own region – Musa Dladla in the north of the province – has not backed her.
    Zikalala is said to be in a Catch-22 situation because he was groomed by ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, who is also being pushed as a potential deputy presidential candidate on the Ramaphosa ticket.
    On the other side, Zikalala is indebted to Zuma, who strongly backed him in the run-up to the controversial provincial conference in 2015 and in the subsequent dispute over its legitimacy.
    The fact that Mkhize and Dlamini-Zuma come from the same province also makes the chance of them running together slim.
    A KwaZulu-Natal leader said Mkhize sometimes visited the regions and reminded people of his role in “building” them when he was still in the province and that “he knows their secrets”.
    “So, everybody is sitting on the edge of their seats because they d

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