With Ramaphosa fresh from his victory at the December 2017 Nasrec conference, the world immediately wanted to know when Jacob Zuma would be removed as president of the Republic to stop the pillage of the state. Ramaphosa’s win was widely perceived to be a victory against the corruption and malfeasance that characterised the Zuma years. His campaign for the ANC presidency had been premised on anti-corruption and the restoration of good governance and integrity in the state.
Barely a month after becoming the ANC president, Ramaphosa was pressured to expel Zuma from the highest office of the land. But Ramaphosa did not have the same advantages that Zuma had enjoyed when he and his allies unceremoniously pushed out Thabo Mbeki following the 2007 Polokwane conference. Unlike that conference, there was no clear winning side or distinct losing side that emerged from Nasrec. This time around, apart from the personal victory for Ramaphosa, both sides were served the same helping.
The top six ANC leaders chosen at Nasrec were split between those who once supported Zuma and those firmly behind Ramaphosa. Moreover, the top party structure, the National Executive Committee (NEC), only gave Ramaphosa a slight majority over the other side, and that too because there were party leaders who preferred to remain neutral in an effort to appease both sides. The most vociferous of Zuma’s supporters had returned to the party’s NEC and left little cause for Ramaphosa and his allies to be triumphant.