Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: SUPPLIED
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: SUPPLIED

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 differences between the factions. “It’s largely political, not ideological,” he says.

Zuma’s “unity” proposal was a revealing sign that Dlamini-Zuma’s campaign is floundering — and that his power is waning in the wake of the Gupta e-mail leaks.

The e-mails directly implicate his son Duduzane in the divisive race-baiting campaign by British PR firm Bell Pottinger. Last week, Bell Pottinger, which was hired to burnish the Guptas’ image, apologised for the campaign.

Of course, you wouldn’t have known Zuma’s power was dimming as he sat alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 meeting in Hamburg last week, giggling as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

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