The 7 dark horses

2017-01-22 06:10
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking at the power energy debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos. (Photo: CNBC Africa)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking at the power energy debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos. (Photo: CNBC Africa)

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Kgalema Motlanthe

There have been murmurs about Motlanthe coming back into the picture, including in KwaZulu-Natal.

Despite being on record for a need for a younger leadership, he is considered as not only a compromise candidate but someone who can bring hope for many in the ANC and the country.

Those who stand to endorse him include some of the elders in the ANC who are said to believe that he can inspire confidence.

His lobbyists hope that branches will affirm him. Even EFF leader Julius Malema believes Motlanthe can save the ANC.

Thus the pitch for Motlanthe’s campaign is that he is likely to appeal to despondent former members who dumped the ANC because they did not agree with the direction of the current ANC leadership under President Jacob Zuma.

These include people who ditched the ANC like axed Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim.

But Numsa is yet to be convinced of the idea while Vavi is playing his cards close to his chest.

Zweli Mkhize

ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize’s flip-flop between the Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa campaigns appears to be an albatross around his neck. Many question his loyalty and say it is time he stopped prevaricating.

When Mkhize was still firmly close to ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala, he was touted as a deputy to Dlamini-Zuma, but the situation is much more murkier now.

Gwede Mantashe

Those close to ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe say he can come back into the top six in any other position.

Because of his anti corruption stance and close relationship to Ramaphosa, he is seen as closer to the Ramaphosa grouping.

However, an ANC NEC member previously cautioned that Mantashe is difficult to read and mostly reveals his position in the last minutes of campaigns.

In Mangaung in 2012 Mantashe’s name featured as secretary general in both the anti-Zuma and pro-Zuma slates.

At the very least, his home province in the Eastern Cape is likely to fly his flag if he were to emerge as a serious contender for any post.

Insiders say Mantashe is being considered for the deputy president position. Mantashe has condemned the use of slates (lists) to decide leadership.

David Mabuza and Ace Magashule

The ANC youth league appears divided on whether it should endorse Dlamini-Zuma, Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza or Free State premier Ace Magashule as the face of their campaign.

In contrast to Magashule, Mabuza appears to be doing a lot of ground work, with his name commonly associated with the Baleka Mbete slate in the position of deputy president.

The ANC in Mpumalanga has also openly endorsed Mabuza for a top six post. Others say Mabuza is overplaying his hand with the presidency campaign hoping that he could ultimately bargain for the number two position.

Mathews Phosa

Former ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa has a reputation for being among a few party leaders who had the courage to confront Zuma while others mumbled their discomfort in the passages and bathrooms.

Despite being out of formal party office since 2012 in Mangaung where he lost the deputy president contest to Ramaphosa, Phosa has managed to keep his face in the media by being the voice of conscience as the Zuma administration moved from one flop to another.

Lindiwe Sisulu

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has been mentioned among those being persuaded to stand for presidency. She also came into the picture as a result of the growing appetite in the ANC for a woman president.

Sisulu is seen as the alternative candidate and her name is meant to appeal to those structures that may want a woman for president but have doubts about Dlamini-Zuma.

She is seen as someone who commands more respect and can be trusted, which could resonate well with ANC structures.

Her lobbyists mention struggle credentials, seniority in the party and experience in government as her selling points.

Her camp is opposed to the election of a “token female leader” because that would not result in the breakthrough that was needed against patriarchy.

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