President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is currently under attack from ANC members aligned to former president Jacob Zuma’s camp, is losing his grip on power.
This is according to political experts, who are of the view that recent developments within the ANC showed that Zuma supporters were gaining an upper-hand in the battle to dislodge Ramaphosa from power.
Xolani Dube, a political analyst from the Xubera Institute for Research and Development, said Ramaphosa threw the game away by failing to act quickly against ANC members who have been undermining him and the party.
“He has the state machinery at his disposal, he has all the power, and yet he is not using it. This has allowed those undermining him to consolidate their power within the ANC. It has also made it difficult for senior ANC members close to Ramaphosa within to defend him.
“As a result, President Ramaphosa has become extremely weak. Recent developments show that Zuma is cruising — he has more power than Ramaphosa. I doubt if Ramaphosa would be able to serve a second term,” he said.
Ralph Mathekga, a political analyst and author of When Zuma Goes and Ramaphosa’s turn, said the fact that several senior ANC members were openly aligning themselves with Zuma, was proof that Ramaphosa was no longer able to assert his authority within the party. “More senior ANC members have been visiting Zuma at his home in Nkandla in recent days. That’s not a good sign for Ramaphosa. In fact it’s a humiliation for Ramaphosa.”
He said Ramaphosa should have used the ban on political gatherings, which was lifted on Sunday after being in force for ten months, as an opportunity to consolidate his power within the ANC. “It should be remembered that Zuma supporters were planning to use the ANC policy conference which was supposed to have taken place last year to weaken Ramaphosa. The fact that the conference could not sit due to Covid-19 restrictions is something that should have worked in Ramaphosa’s favour. However, he didn’t use the opportunity and instead allowed Zuma supporters to consolidate power,” he said.
Zuma supporters, some of whom are facing criminal charges, are at the forefront of the campaign to undermine the judiciary, which they accuse of being biased against ANC leaders aligned to Zuma. Zuma is currently facing a two-year-jail term after disobeying a Constitutional Court order to appear before the Zondo commission where close to 40 witness have implicated him in corruption and state capture. He has told his supporters that he will “never” go to the commission unless its chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo, recuses himself. Zuma’s application for Zondo to recuse himself was dismissed in November.
He has also ignored Ramaphosa’s recent call for all ANC members to respect the judiciary. On Monday the Jacob Zuma Foundation issued another statement attacking Zondo.
Dube said Zuma has realised that Ramaphosa does not have the power to act against him. “Zuma is quite aware that Ramaphosa no longer has a spine. In fact, at this point Zuma has more power than Ramaphosa,” he said.