Fears that ANC factions may use 8 May results to remove Ramaphosa

Fears that ANC factions may use 8 May results to remove Ramaphosa
UNDER FIRE: ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa may face his toughest battle yet soon after the May 8 general election. PICTURE BY M&G.

The business community sees the man as the one that South Africans have been waiting for but forces within the ANC opposed to the manner in which he handles the issue of corruption are working the ground to go to war with him.

With only few days to go to the 8 May 2019 general elections, there is fear that a poor showing by the ANC in the upcoming poll can give ammunition to those opposed to President Cyril Ramaphosa to remove him. 

The 8 May elections is expected to be Ramaphosa’s first take at proving his internal enemies wrong as it is going to be the first time his performance as ANC leader will be gauged.

Besides those who already accuse the man of not implementing the Nasrec resolutions and of allegedly supporting the “witch-hunt” for former President Jacob Zuma to be jailed, the May result will undoubtedly add on to the agenda of his foes. 

If Ramaphosa gets below 50% it could force the governing party into a coalition with the EFF and that can weaken Ramaphosa’s chances of being elected head of state as men like DD Mabuza, “the snake in the ANC grass”, are also looking at the position.

Ramaphosa will have to cut above Zuma’s 62% win in 2014 in order to be able to duck the first bullet being fired by his foes on the other side of the road. 

In the 2009 elections, Zuma got 65% but declined to 62% in 2014. The 65% that Zuma got in 2009 was a decline on the 69% and 66% that former President Thabo Mbeki got in 2004 in 1999 respectively.

The factions, led by KZN and the other groupings in the former NDZ provinces, are eyeing the upcoming national general council in 2020 to argue that Ramaphosa is taking the ANC nowhere and should vacate the position of President.

The ANC constitution requires the NEC to call an NGC “from time to time” in order to assess progress, review or ratify policies. It is scheduled for June 2020.

The provinces are KZN, Free State, North West, Mpumalanga and other small groupings in the other provinces who feel Ramaphosa is coming to stop the “radical economic transformation” programme that was adopted during their 54th conference in 2017. 

They also see Ramaphosa as a leader who runs a factional agenda – “using state organs to fight political battles”, particularly those who didn’t support him towards Nasrec.

“We are just warning them that don’t use state organs to fight political battles,” secretary-general Ace Magashule, one of Ramaphosa’s opponents in the ANC and controller of the Free State bloc, said last week. 

He said his office had received a string of complaints from comrades about the use of state organs to fight post-Nasrec battles.  

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Magashule (Free State), Supra Mahumapelo (North West) and Andile Lungisa (Eastern Cape) are just some of the forces organising the ground with Zuma (KZN) in order to derail Ramaphosa’s train.

Mpumalanga, a province known as SA’s capital of corruption, is also not relaxed with Ramaphosa’s clean-up campaign. It is controlled by Mabuza, the deputy president who is now believed to be a close ally of treasurer Paul Mashatile. 

Mabuza caused outrage amongst the NDZ camp in 2017 when he switched allegiance at the eleventh hour – from supporting Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to supporting Ramaphosa – resulting in a marginal victory of 179 votes for Ramaphosa.

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The business community feels Ramaphosa must get a decisive victory on 8 May 2019 and be able to run the country and attract the investors who will assist the South African government in the battle to end the scourge of rising unemployment and poverty. 

They also want Ramaphosa to get all state and government institutions running efficiently and in the process grow the economy and bolster chances of more and more people getting employment opportunities.

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Fears that ANC factions may use 8 May results to remove Ramaphosa 
President Cyril Ramaphosa

But all of Ramaphosa’s opponents will have to face the SACP, Cosatu and SANCO as well as his staunch and fiery supporters in the NEC like Jackson Mthembu and Bheki Cele.

Ramaphosa’s detractors are opposed to the unbundling of Eskom and the surrender by his cabinet on the issue of the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank as well as rolling out free education and transforming the economy. 

They say Ramaphosa, state enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, energy minister Jeff Radebe, to name a few, are serving the interest of “White Monopoly Capital” and it’s the alleged reason why they removed Zuma.

But where the Ramaphosa and the Zuma groupings draw a clear line for the battle is on the issue of Zuma’s “9 wasted years” and the manner in which the issue of fighting corruption is handled, which the Zuma grouping believe is a direct attack on them and the “witch-hunt” to get Zuma jailed. 

They see themselves following Zuma in going to jail, therefore Ramaphosa’s campaign must be stopped.

Last month Ramaphosa cancelled two trips aimed at campaigning in Mpumalanga. The reason for cancelling the trips was not given. 

A recent research by Ipsos showed that the ANC could get around 56%, a drop from its 62% in 2014.

The DA could also drop – from the 22% it got in 2014 to 15%. Support for the EFF is expected to continue to grow – from the 6% of 2014 to 9% next week. 

But researchers are concerned with a poor turnout on election day and say it has the chances of benefiting the ANC substantially – from the projected 56% to 61%.

Ipsos however, also found that compared to the DA’s Mmusi Maimane and EFF’s Julius Malema, Ramaphosa remains the most trusted leader amongst those interviewed, while the trust index amongst the ANC’s own supporters also improved –  from 72% when Zuma was still President to 85% now that Ramaphosa is in charge. 

Two weeks ago while campaigning in the Kagiso township, west of Johannesburg,  Ramaphosa responded to those who were saying he would be removed next year when an NGC is held and be replaced with Mabuza. 

He said those who were saying this were talking “fables”, the TimeLive reported.

“There are fables,” he said on the sideline of an ANC rally. 

“All sorts of fables as there were fables as we were going to Nasrec saying ‘that one is history, he will never win and is going to be crushed’,” said Ramaphosa.

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“There are many fables around town but what we do is to carry on with the work we have been given by our conference, that is all that guides me,” he said. 

Mabuza on the other hand said he would not allow his name to be used in giving Ramaphosa to the “wolves”.

Addressing a May Day rally in Mbombela on Wednesday this week,  Mabuza said he would not allow “wolves” to use his name to recall Ramaphosa because that will be killing the ANC.

“I would like to assure you that the ANC will stay united for our alliance to work better,” Mabuza said. 

“Those who are seeking to divide the ANC will never succeed,” he said. 

“As for me, I don’t have an ambition to push the President, I will defend the president of the ANC, it’s a necessary thing to do. 

“I will not allow wolves to eat the President that will mean the alliance and the ANC have been eaten,” said Mabuza.

(edited by ZK) 

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