Cyril Ramaphosa wins ANC presidency in a bitter-sweet victory against Dlamini-Zuma.
Sources say Mpumalanga ANC Chairman David Mabuza engineered the shock split vote to boost unity.
CYRIL Ramaphosa’s victory in the ANC presidential race, in what is believed to be a negotiated settlement brokered by Mpumalanga Premier David “DD” Mabuza, has granted him a weak mandate which may result in a state of paralysis in the party and government, his supporters and analysts said.
They said the shock election of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s supporters to the party’s senior leadership structure – in a 50-50 split of the vote or a draw – would make it almost impossible for Ramaphosa to implement his organisational renewal pledge, fight corruption and lead efforts to recall President Jacob Zuma as expected by society.
Ramaphosa defeated Dlamini- Zuma by 179 votes at a hotly contested national conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg, but her faction pushed back and won three key top six positions.
Mabuza defeated Lindiwe Sisulu to be the party’s second in command while Jessie Duarte saw off Cosatu second deputy secretary Zingiswa Losi to retain her deputy secretary’s position. Former KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu narrowly lost to former Free State Premier Ace Magashule by 24 votes.
The shock results gave Dlamini- Zuma’s supporters total over control of the organisation, in what independent political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi said made Ramaphosa “a lame-duck president from day one”.
However, Mchunu, backed by ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, has since disputed Magashule’s election alleging there were “68 missing votes” which could materially change the outcome. When African Times went to print yesterday, the dispute had yet to be resolved by the ANC Conference Steering Committee.
This came as both Ramaphosa’s supporters and critics warned that Mchunu’s efforts to nullify Magashule’s elevation was counter-productive and divisive.
Ngoako Mohlaloga, one of the CR17 campaign coordinators, said questioning Magashule’s election was tantamount to questioning the credibility of the ANC Election Agency as well as process that led to Ramaphosa’s election.
“Those that are questioning the election of Ace are also effectively questioning the election of CR, for example. They are also suggesting that the Elections Agency is not credible,” Mohlaloga said.
“That cannot arguer well for the outcomes of the conference. We expose the entire outcome of the conference to a possible legal challenge. That’s not good for the ANC and South Africa.”
He added that “we do not want CR to be remembered as a President who emerged from a dodgy process”.
Another senior Ramaphosa ally from Gauteng, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the election of Dlamini-Zuma’s supporters was a bitter pill to swallow.
“Broer, the CR camp was badly managed. The Guptas camp lost only on the president but they run the engine and drive the car. SG/ DSG (secretary general and deputy secretary general) and many additional members are Guptas,” he said.
“There are no trade-offs made. Their campaign was well coordinated so much that they have taken key positions in the NEC.”
A businessman who supports Ramaphosa said he was so dejected over the results that he cut short his stay at Nasrec and went back to work.
“The result is so disappointing. Senzo won, but Nomvula, Fikile Mbalula and Jessie Duarte demanded a recount and manipulated the outcome. What can Ramaphosa do with such a top six? His hands are tied!” he said.
Two other sources – one from the CR17 camp and the other from the NDZ faction – said the shock results were negotiated by Mabuza.
A Dlamini-Zuma supporter, who accused Mabuza of having “sold out”, said the Mpumalanga ANC Chairman was behind the split vote that handed Ramaphosa the presidency.
“DD is the one who engineered the whole thing as part of his unity process. In the end he betrayed NDZ and got Ace and Jessie into the top six. He had earlier told KZN he would come on board on condition they accommodated Paul Mashatile,” the source said.
A senior member of the Ramaphosa team confirmed that “DD brokered the deal.”
Limpopo ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary David “Che” Selane, a supporter of Dlamini-Zuma, said they welcomed the results because the “ANC has won”.
“It’s uniting the organisation because both slates find an expression within the officials of the ANC. Even us who did not support CR are happy because we have got key positions, which makes the ANC so united,” Selane said.
He described the dispute lodged against Magashule’s election as an act of provocation.
“That’s why I am saying they are agents who want to provoke us; who are not prepared for unity in the organisation. Whether we like it or not, we can’t go back to recount or re-elect. That top six will remain like that.”
Political analyst Matshiqi said the leadership split may be reflected in the composition of the national executive committee (NEC), resulting in Ramaphosa being unable to preside over or unite the ANC.
“But also when it comes to the task such as dealing with corruption, state capture and so on, he will not be able to succeed because of opposition from the Zuma faction. The same applies to [the] pressure he is under to lead the ANC into recalling Jacob Zuma,” Matshiqi said.
“That, too, will cause not only opposition but further instability in the party. So, what we have here is a recipe for paralysis, but also Ramaphosa coming out as one of the weakest presidents ever because he will be hamstrung by Dlamini-Zuma’s supporters in the top six and in all probably in the NEC too.”
He said if things changed and Mchunu was confirmed as secretary general, that would “result in marginal improvements in the balance of support” for Ramaphosa in the top six, “which I don’t think will be sufficiently reflected in the organisation as a whole”.
ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini, who led the Dlamini-Zuma campaign, described the ANC’s failure to elect more than one woman to the top six as a reflection of patriarchy.
“We feel the ANC has failed the women of SA. We have been dealt a blow,” she said.