IT’S A 5-HORSE RACE
New entries for president signal deep rifts in ANC
THE RACE to lead the ANC has been thrown wide open with the entry onto the scene of Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe and former party treasurer-general Mathews Phosa.
Phosa and Radebe join outgoing AU Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete in the race to succeed President Jacob Zuma.
The ANC goes to a watershed elective conference in December with calls for unity and leaders told to stop campaigning, but Phosa and Radebe’s entry into the race has revealed deep fractures in the party and given the clearest indication yet that this is not going to be a two-horse race between Ramaphosa and Dlamini Zuma.
Ironically Radebe, one of the longest-serving cabinet ministers and a senior party official, is Ramaphosa’s brother-in-law. They are both married to billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s sisters, Bridgette and Tshepo, respectively.
Yesterday, Phosa took centre stage in the Western Cape as ANC provincial executive committee member Andile Lili backed him to succeed Zuma, saying his Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement wanted him to lead the party.
Lili, the founder of Ses’khona, said the ANC in its current state was unable to address the needs of the poor, and if that was not attended to, Ses’khona, an organisation formed to fight social injustice, would register as a political party.
Speaking to The Star yesterday, Lili said they would be lobbying ANC members to back Phosa, a man he said is without scandal unlike some of the candidates.
“We looked at the situation and thought with Zuma we spent most of his term in office defending him and that would be the same with Cyril Ramaphosa, because of his attachments to the Marikana and the buffalo sagas,” he said.
“Let us look at women and men in the ANC who are credible leaders… the likes of Phosa, Paul Mashatile, Blade Nzimande, Thandi Modise, Lindiwe Sisulu and Lindiwe Zulu. With those people in the top six, we can start the task of uniting the movement.”
Lili said Ses’khona will not stay for long in the ANC in its current form. “As Ses’khona we feel that were there to be radical transformation in the leadership of the party, there is hope that the people who left will come back once credible leaders are at the helm.”
Political analyst Daniel Silke said the addition of Phosa to the list of candidates was not an assurance he would get the support the two frontrunners – Dlamini Zuma and Ramaphosa – already had.
“We are going to see a host of names being thrown out there in the coming months. But a lot of the names being put forward don’t necessarily have sufficient support to be any real threat to the two frontrunners.
“What is happening is they are proving that choices are a means of splitting the votes. I call them decoy candidates, and we are seeing a lot of that with the mentioning of Mbete and Phosa.
“In the case of Phosa, it might be just a way of revitalising his position in the ANC. He has mainly been on the periphery and will use a nomination to re-establish himself,” said Silke.
He said Radebe would bring an “interesting new dynamic to the race. He would be seen as a bridgebuilding candidate, as he is someone with sufficient respect from a variety of formations within the ANC. He has not been tainted.”
Several other analysts have backed Radebe’s bid to become the next leader of the ANC, after The Star’s sister paper, The Sunday Independent, revealed his entry into what is likely to be a fiercely contested succession battle.
Sources said it was at a secret meeting in Sandton last week where Radebe agreed to challenge Dlamini Zuma and Ramaphosa.
University of the Western Cape political analyst Bheki Mngomezulu said Radebe was fit to lead and unite the party, which was divided by slates, because he understood it.
“Jeff Radebe has occupied senior leadership positions both in the ANC and the SACP, which makes me believe that he has what it takes to take the position should he be nominated or voted for it,” he said.
Dlamini Zuma is believed to be enjoying support from her former husband and the ANC Women’s League, while Ramaphosa is backed by labour federation Cosatu and will likely be endorsed by the ANC in Gauteng. Analyst Xolani Dube said while Dlamini Zuma and Ramaphosa had taken extreme positions in opposing each other, a situation that seemed detrimental to the ANC, Radebe would appeal to both sides.
THE ANC war room drama widened with claims that ANC officials knew about the covert operation, but the ruling party denied the fresh claims.
It was reported yesterday that Sihle Bolani recorded the meeting with ANC general manager Ignatius Jacobs where she gave him her first report, which showed the ANC was in trouble in the polls.
It was claimed the ANC was short of R50 million required for the project.
ANC spokesperson Khusela Sangoni yesterday denied that ANC officials were involved in the covert operation to plant dirt on opposition parties ahead of the August municipal elections last year.
She said there was no evidence backing up such claims.
“There is nothing proven that the officials were involved.
“If the officials are not party to the contract, that contract cannot be recognised by the ANC.”
The ANC denied sanctioning the contract between Jacobs and PR consultant Bolani.
Bolani is claiming millions from the ANC for the project.
ANC activist Shaka Sisulu, who was also allegedly part of the project, denied Bolani’s claims.
The ANC said Sisulu, Bolani and others were volunteers, a claim denied by the PR expert.
The DA said it would take the ANC to the Electoral Court for planting dirt on it during the election campaign, as this was in violation of the Electoral Code.
The official opposition, which captured key metros from the ANC in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, also said its lawyers were looking at suing the ANC.
The DA also said it would meet with the Electoral Commission of SA over the matter.
It has not said how much it planned to sue the ANC for.
The EFF, which was also said to be the target of the covert operation, was still deciding on the next course of action.
Bolani said last week she had been threatened after the matter became public.
She said in court papers that the war room was mandated to look at mudslinging the opposition, particularly the DA and EFF.
A letter from Jacobs showed that he entered into a settlement last month. This amounted to less than half of the R2.2m agreed to initially for Bolani’s fee.
However, she said she was paid R100 000 of the R1m settlement.
The ANC stuck to its guns that the party officials did not sanction the project and that the war room team were volunteers.
There is nothing proven that they were involved
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma