Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has firmly rebuffed President Jacob Zuma’s proposal that the losing candidate for the ANC presidency become the deputy. Zuma made this revealing concession of a “unity ticket” in his closing speech as he read the balance of forces at the ANC policy conference. It means that even if his chosen candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, lost to Ramaphosa, she would still be in the party’s top six (as would Ramaphosa if he lost). “I believe it’s too mechanical an approach for what is a political problem,” Ramaphosa tells the Financial Mail. “If the aim is to get rid of factions in the party, we need to go to the root of what is causing those factions, rather than use a Band-Aid solution.” Though the proposal may have started with the sound intention of eradicating factionalism in the party, Ramaphosa says, it will simply lead to those factions being institutionalised. Ramaphosa does not share the belief, held by many critics, that there are strong ideological d...

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