Zuma loses out as lobby groups converge

2012-04-01 07:42

Zuma must go – at least as state president.

The different ANC camps fighting to secure victory at the party’s elective conference in Mangaung in December agree on this: even if President Jacob Zuma stays on as president of the ANC, he must ­vacate the Union Buildings.

City Press spoke to 16 ANC sources, ranging from national ­executive committee members to provincial leaders, businesspeople, youth leaders and women’s league leaders.

They all confirmed that the race is on for change at Mangaung and that branches are being mobilised to build support for each camp’s list.

Camps are not unified, as they are still trying to gauge where they will find support for their preferred candidates. They still disagree on who should go where on the slates – the lists of who will fill the top six positions in the ANC – but the overwhelming view is that this will be a two-horse race between Zuma and his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, for the ANC presidency.

If the current thinking in the succession debate remains, neither of them will become state president.
Surprisingly, businessman and ANC national executive committee member Cyril Ramaphosa is ­also being lobbied to return to ­active politics.

The Zuma camp wants him as deputy president and for some in the Motlanthe camp – though a small group that still needs to sell the idea – he should be state president, while Motlanthe keeps the reins of Luthuli House.

“Cyril has his own money, he is clean and has no scandals. This is the kind of leader we need to get the ANC back on track. He is ­presentable to the world,” a Motlanthe lobbyist said.

Motlanthe was apparently pushed to get involved by the realisation that he was not included on Zuma’s slates, a Motlanthe aide close to his campaign said.

“He wants his name to be known now so that when leaders are nominated in October, he can strike some kind of a compromise with Zuma,” the aide said.
Motlanthe is expected to tell ­Zuma a contest could harm the ANC and he was willing to retain the status quo with himself as ­deputy and Zuma as ANC president, provided he could step up to ­become president in 2014.

For now both camps seem willing to create two centres of power. At Polokwane, the Zuma supporters sold the danger of two centres of power as a reason for their man to be elected.

Now they advocate two centres of power because it suits the ­agenda of keeping Zuma in Luthuli House but having a different state president.

They believe Zuma should ­become ANC president but allow Ramaphosa to take on a prime minister’s role, similar to that of former president Thabo Mbeki when he deputised for Nelson Mandela.

They envisage that in 2014, ­Zuma would officially hand over the reins to Ramaphosa.

Motlanthe and Ramaphosa declined to be interviewed, while Zuma has officially put a lid on ­succession talk.

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