Message to Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC top six: roll up your sleeves
The ANC has elected a compromised upper echelon; this is a wake-up call to SA, say analysts and opposition parties
The DA was unimpressed by Cyril Ramaphosa’s victory at the ANC’s elective conference, with DA leader Mmusi Maimane calling it “too little, too late”.
Ramaphosa would be “just a new face to the same old ANC”, Maimane said, having “stood in Jacob Zuma’s shadow for years, silent in the face of his crimes and the crimes of fellow ANC comrades”.
He offered a list of things Ramaphosa could do to convince South Africans otherwise, starting by recalling Jacob Zuma as president of SA and prosecuting him on corruption charges. In addition:
• Scrap any nuclear deal;
• Appoint a new, competent National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) in order for prosecutions against Zuma and others to swiftly proceed;
• Commit to a National Budget that is balanced and sustainable, and carefully manages the public sector wage bill;
• An entire overhaul of the structure and management of state-owned entities (SOEs), including a “clean-up” of captured boards and executives, and selling off those SOEs which strangle our economy and the national fiscus; and
• Ensure that a future cabinet is comprised of fit for purpose individuals, rather than a “rewards scheme” for certain factions within the ANC.
EFF leader Julius Malema, a former ANC member, tweeted: “Nothing has really changed‚ the core of the corrupt premier league is at the centre of the organisation. The Guptas are still in charge and as a result it will be difficult to recall Zuma. Don’t get easily excited over nothing but I’m happy the Zumas ate a humble pie.”
EFF deputy president and chief whip Floyd Shivambu congratulated Ramaphosa on Twitter, but warned: “It will‚ however‚ be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for you to become president.”
Referring to the presence of people from both camps, Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib tweeted:
1) Congratulations to Ramaphosa. It is a split leadership team but maybe that is for the better. For those who worry about Ramaphosa being paralyzed, remember that he has both Mantashe and Mashatile, both of whom are politically astute. He has political support & should use it.— Adam Habib (@AdHabb) December 18, 2017
Gwede Mantashe, previously ANC secretary-general, returns as party chairman. Paul Mashatile, the Gauteng chairman, was elected treasurer-general.
Former DA leader Tony Leon was more blunt on what divides the top six:
A House Divided Cannot Stand to be biblical on Top 6. 3 against state capture v 3 captured— Tony Leon (@TonyLeonSA) December 18, 2017
Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane welcomed Ramaphosa’s victory, but warned there much still to be done “to set SA back on the right track”.
But it was “heartening that there is general consensus from business, labour, civil society, and the religious community that he will lead SA on a new path back to the halcyon days of Nelson Mandela”.
Political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana slammed the election of Ace Magashule as the new secretary-general.
Ndletyana said the election of Magashule as the new administrative head of the governing party did not augur well for its efforts to reclaim its credibility, given his implication in allegations of state capture and the poor state of ANC branches in his home province of the Free State.
“At a party level you can’t really have Ace Magashule as the SG. He’s very hostile to the media because of all sorts of impropriety he’s been accused of. The Free State ANC is pretty much in disarray because of that man. He’s just been effectively found guilty for the second time by the courts of manipulating ANC processes. So if you say as the ANC we want to do things differently‚ Ace is not the guy to do it‚” said Ndletyana.
He said the election of David Mabuza as the new deputy president of the ANC would also prove problematic in the run-up to the general election in 2019.
“DD Mabuza also has his own problems from Mpumalanga. He’s being accused of bribing and threatening journalists‚ so its bad news. Those two individuals represent the very opposite of where the ANC needs to go.”
Another political analyst, Ralph Mathekga, said the new top six was trouble waiting to happen.
Speaking to TimesLIVE shortly after the announcement of the top six was made on Monday night‚ Mathekga said: “This is a very worrying picture. In the last weeks‚ I have said that this was David Mabuza’s conference. If you look at it‚ he had higher votes than Ramphosa himself.
“Ramaphosa may be president but the party still lies within the hands of very questionable people‚” said Mathekga‚ questioning whether the ANC was hoping to win the 2019 elections with Magashule as secretary-general.
“It is a disaster‚” said Mathekga.
“But this is good for the opposition. Tomorrow SA will wake up to the reality that the secretary-general of the ANC is a seriously corrupt man. Tomorrow they will realise that the most feared politician of Mpumalanga is now in power.
“SA needs to wake up to the reality that the deputy secretary-general‚ Jesse Duarte‚ is implicated in the Gupta scandals‚” he added‚ stressing that Ramaphosa would have a lot to deal with.
Magashule‚ who has spent 20 years serving as the chairman of the ANC in the Free State‚ was recently labelled by the National Education‚ Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) as the “Robert Mugabe of the ANC”.
He has been implicated in the Gupta saga along with his son Gift‚ who allegedly also has a long-standing relationship with the controversial family. He however‚ has not been charged with anything.
Mabuza, ANC Mpumalanga chairman and premier‚ has also made headlines in the past few weeks for alleged wrong doing.
Presidential hopeful Matthews Phosa had accused him of having a private army which forced ANC members into backing Mabuza’s preferred candidate for the presidential race.
The gang was alleged to have intimidated ANC members who did not favour Mabuza’s unity campaign after he failed to reveal who between Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma‚ his province would be backing during the elections.
University of Cape Town political analyst Zwelethu Jolobe agreed that the outcome of these elections was indeed a surprise.
“When we analyse the run-up to the politics‚ we always think it will be slates. What we have seen here‚ however‚ is that there are mixed slates. Both camps have people in the top six. That is a departure from previous congresses‚” said Jolobe.
He said he had expected that Lindiwe Sisulu would have been appointed as Ramaphosa’s deputy.
“Now‚ people will have to rise above the slates they were in but we will need to watch the NEC to see if there are similar voting parties. If the national executive committee (NEC) combines both groups‚ that will result in interesting times‚” he added.
“This may seem [like a disaster] in the short term but long term‚ everyone will get their voice.”
Asked whether these results could see a repeat of what happened when Thabo Mbeki left his national presidential seat after President Jacob Zuma won the ANC’s presidential seat‚ Jolobe said it was hard to say now.
But these results did give more power to Ramaphosa.
“There are a few things which are outstanding such as Ramaphosa choosing the next NDPP because Shaun Abrahams’s appointment was problematic‚” said Jolobe.
“He cannot be removed as vice-president. The real power has shifted from Zuma to Ramaphosa. What this means is that in terms of what the court has said‚ he is more empowered but that authority is conditional.”
KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Thabani Khumalo said the results were questionable.
“What I am asking myself is‚ did these results come from the voters or has this come from behind doors?
“I doubt that the results are coming from the branches. I expected the branches to vote along factional lines but the result overall is good for the ANC and is good for the country. It has stopped the culture of the ANC of winner takes all‚” Khumalo said.
“It is a ‘three a side’ team and it forces unity. The question is‚ will they manage to work as a team? I am sure they have different aspirations and agenda. Will they be able to work in the interest of the party? All that remains to be seen.”
Dirk Hermann, leader of trade union trade union Solidarity, believes Ramaphosa understands the balance between the market and job security.
“Unfortunately the ANC will have to go further than to just merely elect a new leader for the party. It will also be necessary for the country to get a new leader. Zuma will have to be recalled for stability.”
Dennis George, general secretary of union federation Fedusa, called the election of Ramaphosa an “early Christmas present” that he hoped would restore investor confidence‚ strengthen the rand and ward off ratings downgrades.
Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi believes the ANC elective conference reaffirmed “there is no solution coming” for deindustrialisation or job losses.
Vavi is an erstwhile Zuma ally who formed Saftu after being ousted from alliance member Cosatu.