KZN ex-premier's Zuma comments show he's ready to back Ramaphosa - analyst

2017-01-18 21:08
Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File: AFP)

Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File: AFP)

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Durban – Former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu's statements about his loss of confidence in President Jacob Zuma and the current ANC leadership are a signal that he is ready to back Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, says an analyst.

"What is intriguing is that Mchunu is being tactical. He is bringing himself forward to be considered by the Cyril Ramaphosa camp," University of KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Lukhona Mnguni said.

Mnguni was responding to statements made by Mchunu in an interview with Eyewitness News in which he revealed that he was unhappy with the direction the party was taking and had lost confidence in Zuma.

Mchunu warned that "if things continue in the direction they are going, the ANC will lose the elections in 2019".

He also said he did "not see why Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa shouldn't be next in line to lead the organisation".

"Currently, there is a deputy president who is Cyril Ramaphosa, who is eligible," he added.

No 'power broker' in Ramaphosa camp

Mnguni said it was clear that Mchunu backed Ramaphosa and added that this would further complicate party politics in the highly fragmented province.

"The Cyril Ramaphosa camp is still drawing up a slate and from what I have seen, they do not have a power broker."

This is a person who has enough influence and power to get branches to back a particular candidate, explained Mnguni.  

"People like Zweli Mkhize appear on the list as the deputy president, and in reality Zweli has lost touch with KZN," he said.

According to a report in The New Age, the slate wants Ramaphosa as the president, Mkhize as his deputy, David Makhura as the secretary general, Enoch Godongwana as the treasurer general, Thandi Modise as chairperson and Vuyiswa Tulelo as the deputy secretary general.

There were rumours that Mchunu had ambitions to take up the secretary general position in Ramaphosa's camp and has allegedly been lobbying at sub-regional level.

High Court challenge

Mnguni said: "Senzo knows that if he can swing 35% to 40% of KZN for the Cyril Ramaphosa camp, he would have done his job, he would have given them at least 200 votes of the delegates."

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's slate has not yet been made public, but either Ace Magashule or David Mabuza is expected to be on it as both are considered power brokers, Mnguni said.

He said Mabuza also came up on Baleka Mbete's slate.

An ongoing court bid at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in which disgruntled ANC members, believed to be Mchunu's supporters, are challenging the outcome of the provincial conference that saw Sihle Zikalala become the provincial chairperson in November 2015 could be used by each slate, said Mnguni.

"This case has the potential to cause turmoil in the province. If that court case is concluded in September and nullifies the current congress, then a task team will be formed and that would mean that KZN will not be ready to go to a provincial conference.

"If the province goes to the elective conference without elected leadership, it opens the terrain of manoeuvring to many more players."

Tribalism warning

Mnguni said KZN was no longer a kingmaker in the party.

"The province is segmented into three...at the moment, Zweli is from here, Nkosazana is from here and Baleka has roots here. The unity of Mpumalanga, North West and Free State combined to make up the numbers of KZN. They knew that when they formed the premier league, that they could club these three together and then divide KZN. In terms of numbers, you are winning because they have the backing of the premier league."

Another analyst, Protas Madlala, warned of a surge in tribalism should Ramaphosa be snubbed.

Madlala said he had read an interesting analysis in a local newspaper which noted that since 1994 the ANC presidency had been revolving within the Nguni group.

"The author noted that historically there was diversity in the presidents, the likes of Sefako Mapogo Makgatho, James Moroka and Pixley ka Isaka Seme. It will kill the ANC if the presidency keeps rotating within the Nguni-speaking people."

Cosatu, ANCWL to be taken 'seriously'

Madlala said the ANC enjoyed a lot of support outside the Nguni group.

"Limpopo, Free State, North West and Tshwane, they all support the ANC. It will hurt the ANC and it will create tribalism if they snub [Cyril] Ramaphosa. There is huge support for the ANC outside of the Nguni group."

Another analyst, Dr Bheki Mngomezulu, said voices speaking outside of ANC structures should not be taken seriously.

"To tell the truth people like him [Mchunu] cannot tell us where the country is going. Every organisation has its structures and branches; those are the people who can dictate. There is also a difference between the Constitution and the constitution of the ANC."

Currently, Mngomezulu said, the ANC Women's League and Cosatu were the only structures that could possibly be taken seriously.

"The ANC Women's League belongs to the ANC and Cosatu is part of the alliance. They have a voice, but remember, the succession debate has not been officially opened," he said.

Read more on:    anc  |  cyril ­ramaphosa  |  senzo mchunu  |  jacob zuma  |  durban  |  politics

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