Opinion Piece

OMRY MAKGOALE: Turbulence in the ANC ahead of December elective conference

Nominations for ANC leadership have started in full force with aspiring candidates raising their hands, and addressing memorial lectures of struggle heroes such as Ahmed Kathrada, OR Tambo, Chris Hani and other heroes of the struggle for the liberation of South Africa. All claim to be following in the path of the past heroes – but as to how far that is true, only heavens knows.

It is the first time in the history of ANC to have seven candidates aspiring to be president of ANC. The candidate for the Zuma camp, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, is supported by two other Zuma cronies – ANC Women's League president, Bathabile Dlamini, and ANC Youth League president, Collen Maine, backed up by Kebby Maphatsoe, the chairman of MKMVA. These are elephants in the kraal.

Principal contestant in opposition to Dlamini Zuma is Cyril Ramaphosa, the current deputy president, who has the support of both Cosatu and the SACP. Ramaphosa has been targeted by the Sunday Independent with allegations of sexual nature being made against him. He has accused that a “well-resourced, co-ordinated covert operation” is being waged against him, which requires the “integrity of our law enforcement agencies and other state institutions to be restored”. He likened the campaign against him to “stratkom techniques of the apartheid era,” saying it “was meant to protect those who had carried out state capture" and who benefitted from “the looting of public resources”.

Also contesting the presidency is Baleka Mbete, the Speaker of the National Assembly, who last month decided to allow a secret ballot on the no-confidence vote on Zuma's presidency, and who has support of some branches. There is Lindiwe Sisulu, the daughter of struggle stalwarts Walter and Albertina Sisulu, former MK veteran in exile and the sister of Max Sisulu, the former national speaker of Parliament. Lindiwe Sisulu has the most colourful background. Then there are Dr Zweli Mkhize, the current treasurer general, as well as Mathews Phosa, the former premier of Mpumalanga and former treasurer general, and lastly Jeff Radebe, the Minister in the Presidency, as well as South Africa's longest continuously serving Cabinet member in every national administration since 1994, and a long-standing leader of the SACP.

All these members of ANC have been through the same political education, and have adopted the same policies in the ANC since 1994. How different can they be?

As ANC members we judge them according to adherence to the policy document, Through the Eye of the Needle. Do they adhere to it, and are their differences only in their characters and personalities?

For ANC members and the general public, the problem is that these are individuals who have been defending wrong things in Parliament for many years, including the Nkandla saga, and undermining of the findings of former public protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela. Except for Dlamini Zuma and Mathews Phosa, who were no longer in Parliament, they failed to show a principled stand. These candidates did not show guts and resoluteness against the trampling of the Constitution by President Jacob Zuma. There are no guarantees for their future conduct in case they get elected. We could have a continued undermining of the Constitution, rampant corruption and the cementation of the state capture if we, the public, are not careful and are not standing up against the violation of the Constitution.

Various slate permutations are being circulated in the ANC chat groups, with Ramaphosa and Sisulu on one slate and Dlamini-Zuma with David Mabuza (premier of Mpumalanga) and Ace Magashule (Free State premier) on another. These permutations and re-arrangements of slates will continue and can only settle down after the actual elective conference in December 2017.

How will the ANC survive this turbulence in its belly, and which slate combinations will become dominant after the December elective conference? Nobody knows; it's only speculations and wishes. Zuma and well-wishers of the Guptas hope Dlamini-Zuma can scoop the elections and win the ANC presidency. For Cosatu and SACP it has to be Ramaphosa winning the presidential elections.

If Dlamini-Zuma wins the ANC presidency, keeping on board the Guptas' affiliated slate, the voters will have to decide as to whether they want to be ruled by the deployees of the Guptas, as demonstrated by the Gupta-leaked emails indicating that they are in charge of the state and government. Will they vote for Dlamini-Zuma, in the hope she will throw away the Guptas' money?

If Ramaphosa wins the ANC presidency, can he restore the integrity of ANC which has been severely bruised by a litany of scandals and political assassinations? What about the albatross of Marikana massacre hanging on his neck? There are no guarantees.

We can only wait and see, and hope for divine intervention to save our precious ANC and the Motherland, South Africa. DM

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