Mkhize could clinch ANC race as compromise leader
FORMER KwaZulu-Natal ANC chairperson Zweli Mkhize stands a good chance of becoming the next party leader if the presidential contestation between Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma becomes too divisive during the conference in December.
Political analyst Daniel Silke said with Ramaphosa and Dlamini Zuma support running neck and neck, the risk is that it might threaten to disrupt the conference and further divide the ANC.
He said delegates might reach consensus to dump both of them and choose Mkhize, who is the ANC treasurer-general, as a compromise leader.
“Mkhize is an outsider in the division, and he would become a frontrunner if there is deadlock over leadership of the other candidates (Ramaphosa and Dlamini Zuma).
If there is some sort of internal implosion at the conference, somebody may emerge in order to unite, and under those conditions he could be a useful contender for power,” Silke said.
Mkhize is criss-crossing the country addressing ANC gatherings, and emphasising unity as the cornerstone of his campaign. Last week he was in Pietermaritzburg to address business people, who claimed to be ANC members in good standing. On Thursday he was at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg to address another gathering.
Silke said in order for the party to emerge united from the conference, it needed a “solid” winner, as the ANC needed to unify behind a particular leader “no matter who that leader might be”.
“If the winning candidate does not get more than 60% of the vote, that could lead to further acrimony and division within the party.
“Its not a matter of who wins, but the size of that victory. Therefore we should not rule out the prospect of someone like Zweli Mkhize as a compromise candidate,” he said.
Another political analyst, Bheki Mngomezulu, said although Dlamini Zuma had started her campaign ahead of other contestants, and enjoyed the support of the ANC Youth League, Women’s League and MK Military Veterans Association, and big provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, Ramaphosa had almost caught up.
He enjoys support from Cosatu, the SACP, veterans and pro-former KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Senzo Mchunu’s faction.
“The main focus of CR17 is anti-corruption and unity in the ANC, since his campaign is built around that. NDZ is primarily on the radical economic transformation (ticket), and any other issue becomes secondary,” said Mngomezulu..