Ramaphosa no better leader than the rest:
Towards the Polokwane conference, we were told how Zuma was a man of the people, a unifier and friend of the working class. Again, the media favored Cyril Ramaphosa is portrayed as an economic messiah who will drive South Africa out of the current junk status. He is also expected to arrest his party electoral setbacks. A hybrid leader, half capitalist and half socialist. It remains to be seen how Ramaphosa the “capitalist”, will deal with ANC’s political “pro-poor” biasness, on the other hand keeping the business community happy. This will definitely put Ramaphosa’s negotiations skills to the test. He must include radical economic transformation in his quest to woo investors. During the campaign towards Naresc, the media was glaringly less critical of the Ramaphosa’s campaign. It conveniently omitted to critic his factionalist behavior and support of Zuma during the Nkandla corruption scandal. His main rival Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was not so lucky, her ties to Zuma were considered a risk to both the ANC and country. Ramaphosa’s own connections to Zuma were a no go area. The fact that he become a deputy president by riding on a Zuma slate and his role in the weakening of the ANC youth league was never questioned. He is projected as someone new, when in fact, Ramaphosa has always been in the ANC NEC even during the time he was in BEE business. He was brought back to mainstream ANC politics after he agreed to slate politicking. His return was a reward after he earned Zuma trust by expelling Zuma’s foes in the ANCYL. The new ANC president has been in government for a while, was also part of the collective that defended Zuma in parliament. I am currently trying to figure out what made him an anti – corruption hero as he is currently labelled, especially after he become deputy president of the country. It will seem, his contribution is being part of the anti-state capture and Guptas corruption. Hopefully, his government will deal decisively with state capture and corruption. Also, the newly found anti-corruption appetite should extend to the private sector and also deal with apartheid evergreen contracts in state owned enterprises.
Within the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa also need to deal with his party internal ructions. Unlike Zuma, Ramaphosa is not in control of the top six and the NEC. He leads a highly factionalized party. This is despite continual lamenting of factionalism and slates with the ANC. All ANC leaders continue to belong to factions and slates for survival. Lindiwe Sisulu tried to run a slate free campaign and did not go far. This explains why top factionalist and slate leaders in Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma emerged as the top two contenders. Adherence to party processes is dependent on the personalities of the ruling faction or dominant slate in the NEC. Those who find themselves outside the dominant slates, risk unemployment. Most ANC leaders depend on government deployment(s) for employment. This deployment dependency is an advantage to Ramaphosa. He can lure certain NEC members to his camp by simple dangling the government deployment carrot. NEC members also knows very well that Ramaphosa is the next big deal after Zuma. A close proximity to Ramaphosa could present a nice government post in the near future.
NDZ: Radical economic transformation (RET) vs CR17: Inclusive growth and fighting corruption
The newly found radical economic transformation enthusiasm within ANC ranks is perhaps an admission by the ANC that it failed to transform society. South Africa is the most unequal country in the world, thanks to ANC self-serving and misrule. Like all former liberation movements in Africa, the ANC failed to uplift the masses from colonial and apartheid economic bondage. Despite economic freedom being one of the reasons for the struggle against apartheid, the ANC has never genuinely attempted to transform the economic landscape of the country. Instead, like all comrades, including Ramaphosa, were assimilated to established white companies through BEE stakes, given shares and made board members for political expedience. The never ending service delivery protests, Marikana massacre, demonstrates how the masses and the working class are on their own, the ruling elite is concerned about power and money than the people they claim to represent.
Like any other ANC conference, vote rigging controversies has also become a familiar story with courts assuming the final arbiter role in resolving ANC disputes. A quick look at the outcomes of the ANC Nasrec conference, shows the ANC is running cycles, recycling old policies and leaders and presenting them as new. The only difference is the prominent usage of the term Radical economic transformation (RET) . The same RET favored by NDZ during her presidential campaign. This suggest the NDZ faction succeeded in shaping the political trajectory the ANC will pursue towards 2019 general elections. The ANC Top six, NEC composition and the adoption of the NDZ – RET campaign slogan shows that Ramaphosa’s inclusive growth campaign was defeated. This is despite the rhetoric during the campaign that the conference was to cleanse the ANC of its bad tendencies, start afresh and lay a foundation to regain electoral lost grounds especially in urban areas. The CR17 slate was confident of winning all top six positions, they duly won the presidency but not in full control of the party. The deputy president and secretary general roles went to the NDZ slate. Despite his failings in running ANC Free State, Ace Magashule was rewarded with a very influential Secretary General role. Magashule’s victory was bitter pill to swallow for the CR17 slate, especially Senzo Mchunu, who worked tirelessly for the Ramaphosa presidential candidacy. Magashule’s victory proves that merit comes second to patronage in the ANC. To make matters worse for Ramaphosa, his deputy, DD Mabuza, is another dubious character who used the unity strategy to land himself a nice position. In his favor, Mabuza seems not affected by the incoming state capture inquiry, that could allow him time to settle and plot another political bomb shell. Mabuza’s triumph left the ANCWL, ANC KZN and ANCYL fuming. It remains to be seen how all the mistrust emanating from the lobbying and deceptions from the conference will be mended.
Zuma legal challenges have rendered him a constitutional delinquent, powerless and a liability
A serial litigant, President Zuma has run out of legal options to avoid prosecution. Even the courts seem tired of his never ending court challenges and appeals. Judgement after judgment, the president is losing, in some cases, he is personally liable to pay incurred legal cost. It is presently unthinkable to reason that president Zuma will finish his term in office. Firstly, outside of the ANC protection, the courts will haunt him. Secondly, the incoming state capture commission of inquiry will inevitable put the ANC and Zuma in an unfavorable public trial. Thirdly, power struggle has ensued within the organization, the ANC has said Zuma reports to Ramaphosa at Luthuli house, whilst Ramaphosa reports to Zuma at the unions buildings. They call this situation two centers of power. It will seem the ANC is cautious on how to handle this situation to avoid a fallout as it happened with the Mbeki recall. Also, the party is fully aware that any split will further hinder its chances of success during elections. The ANC have no choice but to find a cordial recall of Zuma, whatever that will be.
The incoming state capture commission of inquiry could aid the CR17 camp to gain full control of both Luthuli house and union buildings. With the newly elected ANC SG, Ace Magashule, expected to feature prominently in the state capture inquiry. Should he be implicated or feature prominently in state capture inquiry, his position in the top six could be untenable. This could worsen Magashule’s leadership credibility and give the Ramaphosa camp an opportunity to replace him. Magashule’s deputy, Jessey Duarter, is also linked to the Gaptus through her daughter. She will definitely fight to protect her interests and to succeed Magashule if he is removed. This possibility raises the stakes of controlling the ANC integrity/disciplinary committee. Controlling and deciding who is corrupt or captured could be what the Ramaphosa faction need to finally kick out the “captured/corrupt” ones in the ANC. The Julias Malema and co expulsion scenario could reoccur, wherein a “disciplinary” committee led by Ramaphosa was used to settle political scores. Going forward, we can expect a fierce fight for the control of the ANC’s integrity/disciplinary committee(s). As for the ANC, it must deal with all its political fallout’s, implement radical economic transformation and free education this year. If not, the ANC will not have time to put together an election machinery that is coherent to deliver 50% plus in the incoming general elections in 2019.
By Sivodlo Silombo
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