‘Zuma’s plan is for Guptas’ benefit’
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”.