Zuma exit spe­cial

ANC blue blood will be­come only the sec­ond woman No 2

Sunday Times - - Front Page - By RANJENI MUNUSAMY

● Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s first ap­point­ment as pres­i­dent will be to fill the va­cancy he will leave.

He is ex­pected to ap­point Min­is­ter of Hu­man Set­tle­ments Lindiwe Sisulu, who ran against him for lead­er­ship of the ANC in De­cem­ber, as his deputy in the state.

Ramaphosa has been en­gaged in in­tense ne­go­ti­a­tions to en­sure Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma leaves of­fice af­ter the ANC de­cided that the pres­i­dent should go be­fore he does fur­ther dam­age to the party and the coun­try.

Sources close to Ramaphosa said pri­or­ity plans for the gov­ern­ment have been put on ice pend­ing “the com­ple­tion of the lead­er­ship tran­si­tion”.

This means that the shake-up at se­nior lev­els of the state will wait un­til Zuma re­signs and Ramaphosa is elected pres­i­dent. Ramaphosa hinted at the changes in his speech at the ANC’s an­niver­sary rally in East Lon­don last month.

Ramaphosa ap­par­ently set­tled on Sisulu as deputy pres­i­dent af­ter ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of nam­ing Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Min­is­ter Naledi Pan­dor to the post.

The Sun­day Times has learnt that Ramaphosa con­sulted al­lies about ap­point­ing Pan­dor, who he named as his pre­ferred deputy dur­ing his cam­paign for the ANC pres­i­dency last year — a choice that took many peo­ple by sur­prise.

Pan­dor’s can­di­dacy fiz­zled out and an agree­ment was struck with Sisulu on the eve of the ANC’s elec­tive con­fer­ence that she should be Ramaphosa’s run­ning mate.

But Sisulu lost to Mpumalanga pre­mier David Mabuza in the elec­tion of top-six mem­bers.

An ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber close to Ramaphosa said a cab­i­net reshuf­fle might be post­poned un­til af­ter the state of the na­tion ad­dress and tabling of the bud­get, but there was agree­ment that Sisulu should be ap­pointed deputy pres­i­dent.

“It was felt that she would be stronger than Naledi on the cam­paign trail [for the 2019 elec­tions], and she has across-the­board ap­peal,” the NEC mem­ber said.

The ap­point­ment will make Sisulu the sec­ond woman to oc­cupy the po­si­tion af­ter Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who was ap­pointed in 2005 to re­place Zuma when he was fired as deputy pres­i­dent. She re­signed af­ter Thabo Mbeki was re­called as pres­i­dent in Septem­ber 2008.

Sisulu ran a vig­or­ous cam­paign for the ANC pres­i­dency, with a strong anti-cor­rup­tion fo­cus and plans for the re­newal of the ANC. Her cam­paign ran aground due to a lack of sup­port from ANC branches and a short­age of money.

Sisulu has served in the gov­ern­ment since 1996, first as deputy min­is­ter of home af­fairs, then as min­is­ter of in­tel­li­gence from 2001. Her cur­rent term as hu­man set­tle­ments min­is­ter is her sec­ond. She has also been min­is­ter of de­fence and mil­i­tary veter­ans and of pub­lic ser­vice and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

She is the daugh­ter of ANC veter­ans Wal­ter and Al­bertina Sisulu and has been a po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist from an early age. She was de­tained by the apartheid po­lice when she was 21. There­after she joined the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, and spe­cialised in mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence.

Sisulu worked as Zuma’s per­sonal as­sis­tant in the ANC’s depart­ment of in­tel­li­gence af­ter she re­turned from ex­ile.

Be­fore she sus­pended her own ANC pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Sisulu was quoted as say­ing: “I have had a con­ver­sa­tion with Cyril, I am wait­ing for him to . . . go down on one knee and ask, ‘Will you be my deputy?’ ”

It re­mains to be seen whether she will have the same ex­pec­ta­tion be­fore be­ing ap­pointed to the sec­ond-high­est po­si­tion in the gov­ern­ment.

It was felt that she would be stronger than Naledi on the cam­paign trail [for the 2019 elec­tions], and she has across-the-board ap­peal

Cyril Ramaphosa

Pic­ture: Gallo Im­ages

Cyril Ramaphosa and Lindiwe Sisulu share con­fi­dences as ANC col­leagues. Ramaphosa is be­lieved to be plan­ning to name her as his deputy pres­i­dent.

Naledi Pan­dor

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