Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
path to power Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

1. Ramaphosa seems to be frontrunner but it’s a fraught process

Business Day’s deputy editor, Carol Paton, writes that Cyril Ramaphosa is winning the race to win public approval, but there’s a long way to go, especially because of the power of ‘provincial henchmen’. This from her article:

When the delegate votes, says the Eye of the Needle, he or she is “guided by the mandate of their branch, region and province” but is also expected "to exercise his or her own judgment”. The result is that provincial strongmen have been easily able to compel delegates to vote in a certain way.

In the past, provinces controlled this preference system by fighting out a provincial position before the conference began. As this will not happen this time and branches will make their nominations directly to Luthuli House, the strong men have lost leverage. But not all of it. Their biggest leverage is money. That delegates are paid is the ANC’s worst-kept secret. It is this that in the end will decide the outcome.

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2. Ramaphosa succeeds in annoying some backers

Business Day’s political editor, Natasha Marrian, writes that Ramaphosa may have annoyed some of his potential allies by announcing a ‘slate’ for the ANC's top six positions:

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has angered some of his own backers by outlining his preferred leadership team ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December.

Ramaphosa’s campaigners in some ANC structures were taken aback by the move on Sunday. Even though his line-up was well-known, Ramaphosa’s announcement of the slate caught them by surprise and caused some discomfort.

The slate included current secretary-general Gwede Mantashe as chairman, Gauteng chairman Paul Mashatile as treasurer-general and his ally in KwaZulu-Natal, Senzo Mchunu, as secretary-general. Ramaphosa did not name a candidate for the post of deputy secretary-general.

In naming his preferred team, Ramaphosa was slapped down by Mantashe, who berated him for “usurping” the rights of branches to select their preferred candidates.

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3. Ramaphosa names his slate. What is he up to?

Writing in the Financial Mail, Peter Bruce also tackles the decision by Ramaphosa to announce a ‘slate’ of candidates, in particular, Naledi Pandor, whom he named as his choice for deputy president:

Pandor has a few things going for her. She is untainted by controversy (though the ruinous travel rules Malusi Gigaba drove through at home affairs were basically of her design). It seemed at one stage that the necessary female candidate he pretty well had to name for the deputy’s job would be Lindiwe Sisulu but she has taken a few swipes at him in the past few weeks and, more importantly, made a complete hash of an answer about Fezekile Kuzwayo “Khwezi”, the woman Zuma was charged with raping more than a decade ago, in a radio interview with Eusebius McKaiser a few weeks ago.

By naming a slate now, this early (the conference is about 50 days away), Ramaphosa has either been very smart or he’s been panicked into it. He surely cannot hope to take KZN based on Mchunu (though he is popular in the province) alone. So we must presume his list is not final and that it is merely the start of a negotiation of sorts.

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4. Why Ramaphosa chose Pandor as his running mate

Writing in the Rand Daily Mail, Ranjeni Munusamy ventures her opinion on why Ramaphosa chose Pandor:

In order to attain such an influential and sought-after position on Ramaphosa’s ticket‚ Pandor must offer something that no other ANC leader has.

Perhaps it is that she is scandal-free and is a respected and experienced member of the NEC and cabinet.The fact that she is a woman ticks the gender-parity box.

At the ANC’s 53rd national conference in Manguang in 2012‚ Pandor was the woman with the highest number of votes after Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Lindiwe Sisulu‚ both of whom are now presidential contenders.

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5. Ramaphosa the exorcist

Finally, Gareth Van Onselen continues to air his supicions about Ramaphosa’s ability to reform the ANC, were he to win the presidency. Here’s an extract from the article:

Cyril Ramaphosa said this weekend: “We will wash and clean the ANC, and it will be the ANC you know.”

But the ANC needs an exorcism, not a baptism. And no possessed soul has ever embraced an exorcism. Watch any horror movie and you will know, you have to strap the tortured victim to a bed and burn the evil out of them. Incantations alone never work.

The malevolent demon that has the ANC under its influence is not going to quietly depart this world. Even if it was, Ramaphosa, for one, is not going to be able easily to pin it down. These things are not tangible but ethereal. They occupy the space between words, not words themselves.

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