Ahead of Elective Conference, a jittery President explores various fall options
By John Eche
With all of the indicators presently pointing to the fact that his favoured candidate in the forthcoming elective convention to determine his succession would not make it, embattled President Jacob Zuma is going for broke!
In this frenzy, virtually all cards are being thrown into the ring.
In one such attempt the President has suggested that the loser of the contest which has presently been narrowed down to the two front-runners, Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, should be rewarded with the automatic position of Deputy President in the resultant government that would be established.
In response however, the Deputy President and leading ANC presidential candidate, Cyril Ramaphosa is insisting that this should be discountenanced and that even when the president first made the suggestion it did not fly and has indeed ‘never gained traction’.
The crucial leadership election is scheduled to kick off on Saturday at Nasrec, Johannesburg and Ramaphosa is in a pole position to emerge winner after he attained the majority of branch nominations.
Though Zuma had first broached the subject of automatic deputy President slot when he told some 3 700 delegates that had attended the party’s national policy conference in Nasrec in July, it has re-echoed even more strongly now in the face of a looming defeat for his favoured candidate.
At the moment the focus is on consolidation as lobbyists are undertaking touch-up meetings with delegates. But the Ramaphosa camp is alleging that in some of these sessions attempts are being made to sway their already committed voters, using financial inducements and bribery.
There have also been moves to get Ramaphosa to step down for Dlamini-Zuma on the ground that she is more senior to him in the party hierarchy but this has also not been well-received overall.
Analysts say that should Ramaphosa ultimately be crowned as ANC leader at the conference and later president of South Africa, it will be a deja vu moment of sorts for the party and country as the incumbent Jacob Zuma had similarly overcome non-support from former President Thabo Mbeki to similarly emerge.
Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa