Mpumalanga is Ramaphosa's golden ticket - analyst

2017-07-12 18:17
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gallo Images)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gallo Images)

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Johannesburg – The Zuma faction could still win the leadership of the ANC in December, but a shift in support by Mpumalanga premier and ANC head David Mabuza to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa could boost his chances, according to an emerging markets economist.

Nomura’s Peter Attard Montalto's views that the Zuma camp will do whatever it takes to win in December have not changed. But the analyst noted that a “small” move by Mabuza is still important.

“Mpumalanga is important because it is a very cohesive and tightly run provincial ANC structure,” explained Montalto. “No province can be assigned 100% to either camp, but what is at stake is where the majority of votes can be placed in either camp.

“Mpumalanga will have around 11% of delegates in December and be the third largest share – hence its importance.”

At the recent ANC policy conference, the province did not vote with other pro-Zuma supporters to stop secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s presentation on the ANC's situation. “Their vote may have swung it the other way,” said Montalto.

If Zuma-support from Mpumalanga drops from 80% to 33.33%, Zuma could still win, provided KwaZulu-Natal holds a majority over 70% and 30% of votes can be collected from the Eastern Cape, he explained.

Mabuza’s shift could be brought on because he got a more “solid deal” from the Ramaphosa camp relating to his possible position as future deputy president. Joining the Ramaphosa camp could make Mabuza a “king-maker” on wider party and government issues after December and 2019, suggested Montalto.

It is also likely that Mabuza realised Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma possibly would not win the 2019 elections.

More balanced

A victory by the Zuma camp would be close on the line. The probability of Dlamini-Zuma taking the party leadership has reduced from 60% to 51%.

“Ultimately, we still believe all forms of political and other forces will ensure the Zuma faction wins, but things are so marginal that it could well go wrong for them,” said Montalto. “An elective conference will be a straight fight between two factions.”

Also read: Race for ANC top job split down the middle - Credit Suisse

Fin24 previously reported that Credit Suisse is also of the view that the race is more balanced. There is an equal chance for either Ramaphosa or Dlamini-Zuma to win the presidency.

Montalto is of the view that the Zuma camp will take steps to ensure a victory, given the tight race.

It is worth noting the shift from loyalist to careerist, explained Montalto. Careerists to be on the look-out for, besides Mabuza, include deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. These shifts could reflect a more accurate call of what will happen in December, he said.

“The big uncertainty remains if the Zuma camp’s choice of candidate suddenly ‘flips’,” said Montalto. It may be likely that Dlamini-Zuma gets swapped out with speaker Baleka Mbete, he added.

It is also possible that the elective conference could be cancelled altogether, or delayed indefinitely. “This would in effect be a real upfront split that both sides would wish to avoid. Chaos would be the outcome and (it would) lead to worrying precedents for 2019 national elections being considered by investors,” said Montalto.

With the race being so close, the conference may not take place if the Zuma camp believes it will lose. This could also lead to rising violence at branch and conference level. Even though this is not a base scenario, the probability of this event is rising.

“The broad concern we sense is that the elective conference may only occur if there is surety of a Zuma camp victory,” said Montalto.

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Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  peter attard montalto  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  anc policy conference  |  sa economy

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