ANC under severe strain as disunity mounts - Ramaphosa

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Johannesburg - The ruling ANC is 'under severe strain' and is being undermined by disunity, mistrust and organisational weakness, according to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In power since Nelson Mandela led the party to victory in the nation’s first multiracial elections 23 years ago, the African National Congress has been mired in a series of controversies including the alleged attempts to manipulate government appointments by the Gupta family, who President Jacob Zuma says are his friends.

The ANC suffered its worst electoral performance yet in an August municipal vote, when it lost control of Pretoria, the capital, and the economic hub of Johannesburg to opposition-party coalitions.

“There are instances where internal ANC processes have been infiltrated by individuals and companies seeking preferential access to state business,” Ramaphosa said according to an emailed copy of a speech that he delivered on Monday in George in the Western Cape province.

“Building the unity of the ANC and the alliance is therefore the most important and urgent task of the moment.”

Ramaphosa, who also is the deputy president of the ANC, is seen as being among the front-runners to replace Zuma, who is scheduled to step down as the party’s leader in December and end his second term as president in 2019. Zuma may be considering appointing his ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to his cabinet to ease her path to succeed him, government officials have said.

Zuma told state-owned Motsweding FM radio on January 12 the ANC is ready for a female leader and the job won’t automatically go to his deputy, Ramaphosa.

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