‘Zuma’s plan is for Gup­tas’ ben­e­fit’

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

ANC pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Mathews Phosa has urged ANC branches to re­ject Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s power-shar­ing solution for fac­tion­al­ism within the party, say­ing it amounts to “day­light rape of democ­racy” in the ANC.

Phosa claimed the pro­posal was a sin­is­ter ploy by Zuma “to in­sert the Gup­tas into the top six at all costs”.

“What hap­pens to democ­racy in our move­ment if we start say­ing the one per­son who loses a con­test of a pres­i­den­tial race au­to­mat­i­cally be­comes the deputy? This is day­light rape of democ­racy in our move­ment, which must be re­jected at the door,” he said. Zuma on Wed­nes­day gave a spir­ited mo­ti­va­tion for a pow­er­shar­ing for­mula, sug­gest­ing that those who lose elec­tions in the ANC could be ac­com­mo­dated in sup­port­ing lead­er­ship roles.

Zuma told the more than 3 700 ANC del­e­gates at­tend­ing the party’s na­tional pol­icy con­fer­ence at Nas­rec, Jo­han­nes­burg, that where two can­di­dates con­test for the pres­i­dency po­si­tion, the loser could au­to­mat­i­cally be­come a deputy. A sec­ond deputy pres­i­dent post would then be cre­ated to ac­com­mo­date the win­ner in the pool of those con­test­ing for the deputy pres­i­dent post. How­ever, he did not seem to have the buy-in from all those at­tend­ing the con­fer­ence and many spec­u­lated that the pro­posal would un­der­mine democ­racy in the ANC and cre­ate a situation where lead­er­ship po­si­tions were ar­ranged.

Zuma’s de­trac­tors have read the pro­posal as a con­ces­sion on his part since his pre­ferred suc­ces­sor and for­mer wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was not re­ceiv­ing suf­fi­cient sup­port from the del­e­gates and could lose to an­other lead­ing con­tender, Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Even if you do not use it in this up­com­ing con­fer­ence and use it in the next one, I will be happy,” Zuma said, seem­ingly alert to sus­pi­cions that the pro­posal could be self-serv­ing and in­tended to sneak Dlamini-Zuma into the top post in the event of an un­favourable elec­tion out­come.

The ANC constitution could be amended to ac­com­mo­date the pro­posal, Zuma sug­gested.

“You can­not say the ANC constitution can­not be changed. You can have what­ever for­mula, but the fact is that this is a rem­edy to kill fac­tions.”

Phosa, a for­mer ANC trea­surer-gen­eral, said “the writ­ing is on the wall that the cracks in the Zuma camp are widen­ing and that they will not win the con­fer­ence in December. This is ev­i­denced by their be­low-av­er­age pro­posal that who­ever loses the congress must au­to­mat­i­cally be­come a deputy pres­i­dent.

“If Zuma wants the mother of his chil­dren to be in the pres­i­dency, he must do this with­out tam­per­ing with the ANC’s constitution. Branches of the ANC can­not and must not amend the constitution just to ac­com­mo­date vain fac­tional am­bi­tions dis­guised as unity talks,” said Phosa.

He said that “the constitution has never di­vided the ANC [and branches] must cat­e­gor­i­cally put it in the open that greed, pa­tron­age, state cap­ture, purg­ing of com­rades, gate­keep­ing – which are the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the Zuma ten­ure – have in­deed paral­ysed the move­ment”.

“The ANC al­lows con­tes­ta­tion, and con­tes­ta­tion is not in it­self dis­unity, this is a right that the ANC has fought tire­lessly to give not only to ANC mem­bers, but to all cit­i­zens of the coun­try. This right must be de­fended at all costs.”

He said it was nar­row-minded to sug­gest that those who lost the congress in December would form a splin­ter group, cit­ing as an ex­am­ple that for­mer deputy pres­i­dent Kgalema Mot­lanthe lost in Man­gaung in 2012 “and he did not leave the ANC”.

The Zuma camp then did not see the need to make Mot­lanthe an au­to­matic deputy be­cause they were win­ning, Phosa said, adding that “now that they are go­ing to lose this one, they want to spin the constitution”.

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