FRIDAY BRIEFING | Torn Asunder: Fragmented and broken, new ANC leadership must work towards 2024

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Friday Briefing

Torn Asunder: Fragmented and broken, new ANC leadership must work towards 2024

In just over 10 weeks, ANC delegates will have chosen their new leadership, one expected to lead the party into the electoral contest in the 2024 elections. 

Cyril Ramaphosa is vying for a second term as party president and has hopes of an ANC victory (or at least a manageable coalition) to secure the presidency of the country again. He already has the endorsement of six provinces of the ANC to lead the party. But earlier this week, KwaZulu-Natal, the party’s biggest voting bloc, threw its weight behind Dr Zweli Mkhize, despite his alleged links to the Digital Vibes scandal. But as far as coherent endorsements go, this is where it ends. 

There are significant diversities (and sharp differences) from the provinces on who should make up the party's top leadership (known as the top six), which means whoever claims the party crown will have a diverse group of leaders to manage. With the party limping towards the 2024 elections – this is possibly not what the party would like or what it really needs. 

The accommodation reached after 2017, when two distinct slogans - one of radical economic transformation and another from the Ramaphosa side, focusing on unity and renewal - led to the 2017 conference emerging with the clumsy "towards unity, renewal and radical socio-economic transformation". This subsequently reflected in the clumsy fragmentation in the ANC. 

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ANC branches and delegates seem to have taken their cue from this and are extending it into the leadership realm, seemingly forging a kind of unity among candidates from seemingly different sides of the leadership divides. This could either forge unity or consolidate fragmentary approaches to the party and policy.       

Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection's Susan Booysen, political analyst Tinyiko Maluleke and University of Johannesburg's Siphamandla Zondi write for us in this week's Friday Briefing, examining the toll of the internal battles on the ANC and the challenges facing the incoming president.

Enjoy your weekend. 

Vanessa Banton

Opinions editor

Susan Booysen | The ANC beyond the RET bunker - last-chance power manoeuvres

As multiple cross-provincial power unions take shape in the next three months, there will be attempts to make us believe new intra-ANC alliances will bring an alternative, directly and indirectly, writes Susan Booysen.

Tinyiko Maluleke | What happens to a dream destroyed? Reflections on the ANC's elective conference

I wish that amidst the singing and the foot-stomping, the ANC's 2022 elective conference will spare a moment to consider the fraying dream, that is blowing in the wind, writes Tinyiko Maluleke

 Siphamandla Zondi | Will the RET forces win in December?

If we don't remember that the ANC is, by design, a broad church that accommodates various and sometimes diverse ideological positions – liberal and socialist, nationalist and internationalist, patriarchal and feminist – we might never understand how it resolves this jostling on the conference floor, writes Siphamandla Zondi

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