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Will the ANC NEC rally behind Ramaphosa?

South Africa’s biggest crisis isn’t economic or social. It’s political.
There have been whispers that infighting among ANC national executive committee members – some of whom are seen here at the party’s 107th anniversary in Durban in January – may have intensified. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

The key question as we await the policy blueprint President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government will use is whether his party’s national executive committee (NEC) will rally behind or against him.

From that vote for Britain’s exit from the European Union in June 2016, Brexit has given us numerous lessons, key among them the difference between an electorate that wants to exit and a parliament that wants to remain. Three years later the political crisis that unfolded remains Britain’s biggest problem.

Is South Africa soon to be saddled with the same problem? Imagine for a moment that Ramaphosa does not command majority support in his top decision-making structure.


This past weekend, the ANC held its first NEC meeting since the national elections amid whispers that internal fights have intensified. Rumours can be discounted, but what of actions? In announcing his cabinet, did Ramaphosa reveal himself to be a president unable to take advantage of his executive powers? How else can he explain keeping some of the individuals as ministers?

This prompts one to wonder if he has power within his own party and its NEC, specifically the top six. Or whether he presides over an NEC in which his side cannot assert domination.

The latter is possible, especially when considering how some of his biggest critics have been NEC members such as Tony Yengeni and Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina. Will the party take action against these members? If it doesn’t, what message will this send? And if it does, how will this affect the different factions? There were mutterings even before the recent meeting that Ramaphosa does not have majority support in the NEC. The grouping of three differing factions can be seen even the top six.

The tainted-individuals test

One of the first tests will be what the NEC decides when it comes to the ANC integrity commission’s recommendations on tainted individuals. If accepted and adopted, Ramaphosa’s power within the NEC will be established. If not, it means his faction was outvoted. And that would not bode well for the country.

If there is truth behind the rumours of a three-way NEC and a three-way top six, politically this would render Ramaphosa the weakest ANC president to date, and one who will struggle to command his party.

Incomparable as they were, his predecessors Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma presided over NECs that started off united and later clashed. Even at the height of discontent around Zuma, his side could still outvote and contain the disgruntled faction. Somehow the Ramaphosa faction has to win power in the NEC and avoid the possibility of being outvoted on key state-related policy decisions. He needs to be freer in his presidency and able to exercise his prerogative executive powers without the shadow of the top five looming over each decision.

The ‘lit fuse’

Some observers of politics have persuasively argued that Brexit bared Britain’s crisis to be political rather than constitutional. The latter is a non-issue for South Africa, but the former is or will soon be a lit fuse for the country, specifically in terms of the internal party politics of the ANC.

Yes, South Africa’s biggest crisis isn’t economic or social. It’s political.

A state president who does not command power within his NEC and is part of a divided top six leaders augurs badly for the country’s progress. Key government policy positions that are put forth will have to contend with differing views – not because they are bad or ideologically opposed, but because of internal factions and the distribution of power.

Confronting the top five or other factions within the NEC could serve to unite them … against the president. This could lead to far more serious consequences. We know the ANC is not shy to recall a president.

The current cabinet

This prompts me to ask: does Ramaphosa have enough support within his party’s NEC to lead a government without constraints and restart the economy? On that last point, if success is based on the cabinet team he has surrounded himself with, then no. Within the current administration are individuals who should not be heading a government department let alone leading anyone. However, politics has ensured that these individuals, despite their many failings, are in government.

At the moment this team’s individual performances give no sign of leaders who can fix social problems or deliver basic services that stop societal decline and regression. With 80% of grade 4 leaners unable to read, unemployment at 27.6 % and the potential of the youth unrealised, it is apparent that whatever efforts they may have made thus far have not succeeded.

I would like to believe that Ramaphosa is aware that if the country is to survive this economic period, government must have leaders who recognise the need to put state success in front of any individual’s political position, access to power and resources. We know politicians are selfish. They are rarely driven by altruism or the desire to improve people’s lives.

For some, Ramaphosa may have the makings of man who can bootstrap South Africa and lift the country off the ground towards greater things. But the reality is quite the opposite. Depending on his party’s NEC, he may hobble in his attempt.

Only time and the balance of power games within the ANC will tell. Gloomily, South Africans and the economy can’t afford a political crisis that drags on or becomes a stalemate.

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Following the rest of Africa with unstable politics with power hungry and rogue politicians. Will never settle.

The ANC used Cyril to win the election, and now that his job is done, well, all bets are off

Four appointments stand out:
Gordhan. No matter how much one despises Busisiwe Mkhwebane, she IS the Public Protector and the President, rather than waiting for the courts and appointing a “placeholder”, has simply ignored her findings. As a lawyer, he should be aware of this; as JZ783’s former deputy, he should be moving away from contempt for the courts.

de Lille. It is hard to believe her acriminous departure from the DA is not a variant on the ANC’s “buy-a-black” tactic of luring failing DA councillors with a cabinet position being her reward.

Mabuza. Granted the Integrity Commission has no legal standing, but ignoring it AND the “clean in a jiffy” hearing will further demean the Integrity Commission’s reputation and confirm the worst aspersions about the ANC.

No matter how much Ramaphosa’s defenders may deny it; the perceptions these create are the wrong ones.

The ANC has a very well publicised track record as a rapacious destroyer of capital and value. Its central policies are based on some nonsensical type of proto-Marxism, when in fact it is simply a vast criminal enterprise. What the nerve center (the NEC) of this criminal enterprise decides changes nothing, they will steal and break until SA makes Zimbabwe look like a Scandinavian paradise!

In most civilized countries, people with this level of intellect and understanding will be cared for in a special-care institution. In South Africa, we send them to Luthuli House.

SA needs a new definition of our brand of democracy.
We have the millions of voters electing a party (not individuals who can be held accountable by the voters) to lead the country.
The party leadership then appoints their parliamentarians, who in turn vote for the party leadership to form a government.
Once the government is in place the party leadership ( currently ca 80 comrades) instruct the parliamentarians to do leadership’s bidding. (how else can you account for what passes as over sight in our parliament)
This lot is so far removed from the voters that I would rather call our system a dictatorship of the top 6 ANC cadres.
Democracy it aint!!

Look at the picture..

These folk are deciding economic policy for you and your family’s future in this country.

Look at the picture again..

Do you like the way the future looks? Enuf said.

…err, looking at the picture, I would rather say “our future looks OVERWEIGHT and OBESE”.

Lekker vetgevreet! Who should the people thank? The commercial farmer!

Yaa. There is a real competition between IQ and dress size now.

Does it matter because either way we’re screwed.

The ANC is now benefitting a much smaller minority than apartheid did – according to, of all people, the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

The ANC is still putting it’s own interest before that of the country – like a true liberation party.

The comparison is stunning: Apartheid benefitted some 10% of the population while ANC rule benefits 0.1% (and shrinking). One bad system replaced by another shocking, oppressive and atrociously bad system. That’s progress for you.

The economic policy stagnation is doing more damage to this country than State Capture did.

End of comments.


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