'You can't expect a nice contest' - analyst on ANC succession battle

2017-01-16 21:18
(Michael Hammond)

(Michael Hammond)

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Johannesburg - Mixed messages from ANC leaders ahead of the party's elective conference could lead to confusion, University of Pretoria political analyst Tinyiko Maluleke warned on Monday.

"The problem is that it is messy and they are all over the place as a party. There are different messages from different factions of the party, including the highest level, and that is bad," he said.

His comments followed speeches by the ANC’s top six leaders at the party’s birthday celebrations in various provinces over the weekend.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, secretary general Gwede Mantashe, his deputy Jessie Duarte, and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, were among the leaders who addressed supporters.

The ANC is set to hold its 54th elective conference in Gauteng in December. Speculation over who will succeed Jacob Zuma as president has dominated party politics.

'Vigorous and messy'

The succession debate had been confusing, Maluleke said.

"It’s contestation, it’s never nice. By its very nature it’s vigorous and messy. You cannot expect a nice contest between Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa, or Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Baleka Mbete," he said.

Maluleke said it would be foolhardy to think that there be a faultless contestation process.

"I hope they manage it like they have done in the past, in a manner that does not completely obliterate any semblance of process, protocols, and integrity."

On Sunday, Zuma made a surprise visit to an ANC anniversary celebration in KwaZulu-Natal. Zuma had spent days leading up to the event conducting a series of radio interviews on his January 8 statement.

During interviews on SABC radio stations last week, Zuma said it was not ANC culture for the deputy president to ascend to the seat of power. But in the same breath, he said the party was ready for a female president. His comments were seen as an endorsement of his ex-wife, Dlamini-Zuma.

'Divisions about money, not politics'

Zuma warned against those wanting to discuss names of their preferred candidates ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December. Doing so was tantamount to ill-discipline and many senior leaders were speaking out against it, he said.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa, who announced his availability to take over from Zuma, delivered a speech similar to his address at the January 6 commemoration of Joe Slovo’s death. He warned that money could lead to the party’s demise and spoke out against leaders who failed to listen.

ANC leaders were divided and this could divide supporters, he said, adding that the divisions were not political, but about money.

Mantashe, who spoke in the Western Cape, criticised those who were using their families to get elected into positions. His statement was largely seen as an attack on the Dlamini-Zuma faction.

Mkhize, who delivered a speech in front of Zuma, warned the party’s youth not to become involved in the factional battles over party leaders.

Duarte delivered a more positive message, telling supporters that the ANC would instill discipline and work hard towards unity.

Read more on:    anc  |  cyril ­ramaphosa  |  jesse duarte  |  gwede mantashe  |  nkosazana ­dlamini zuma  |  politics

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