BANK ON DIVIDED ANC
Ruling party ‘faces real prospect of losing 2019 poll’
A CONFIDENTIAL sur -vey on the country’ s direction by a division of one of the big four banks has laid bare the widening schism between supporters of President Jacob Zuma and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa. Yesterday, the ANC Women’ s League (ANCWL) launched a blistering attack on RMB (Rand Merchant Bank ), a division of the First Rand Bank, owners of FNB, effectively accusing them of supporting Ramaphosa over its preferred candidate, former AU Commission chairperson Nkosaza na Dlamini Zuma. The survey, “Political views in a post-downgrade, post-Gordhan SA”, which The Star has seen, was conducted among top political analysts in the country. It concluded that there was a “meaningful probability” that the ANC would lose power in 2019. The survey says the ANC’s loss of power would be caused by a victory f or Dlamini Zuma during the party’ selective conference in December, which would ensure that President Jacob Zuma stays at the Union Buildings until 2019. This did not sit well with the ANCWL, which lashed out at the RMB despite the report not having been made public. The league accused the private bank of having an inter est in the ANC’s leadership succession and of tacitly supporting Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma when he steps down as ANC leader in December , and possibly become president in 2019. The ANCWL alleged that the report portrayed the ANC “as a dying organisation that will not win 2019 elections and is expected to split should the preferred candidate of RMB not be elected as the ANC president in December 2017”. The five political analysts polled were Prince Mashele, Steven Friedman, Anthony Butler, Ralph Mathekga and Stephen Grootes. RMB claimed that through its Global Markets Research Team it sent the report to its clients on April 13. However, T he Star has esta b- lished tha t the r eport was f or the bank’s internal political risk assessment. The financial institution said it regularly published reports and the one in question reflected the views of the five analysts. “The report reflects responses to questions put to the analysts, whose answers were expr essed as probabilities. The questions ask ed covered key issues tha t have been dominating media co verage o ver the past tw o weeks,” RMB said in a statement. It claimed the r eport did not reflect its vie ws. “It has been suggested that the report claimed that the ANC was ‘a dying organisation’ and that there is an expr ession of a pr eferred candida te of RMB’. Neither statement nor any suggestions of suc h sentiments exist in the report,” the bank said. But a section of the report titled RMB interpretations sta tes: “T he central scenario being painted is an ad verse political en vironment up until, but potentially a change at, the 2019 election.” It fur ther states that “the mar ket ma y be under - pricing the probability tha t Zuma gets forced from of fice in the next few months”. When contacted f or comment last night, Mathekga stood by his assessments in the survey. “The ANC is at a knife-edge and it is a t risk of losing in 2019 if it doesn’t do anything drastic.” He scor ed 50% on the possibility of the r uling par ty losing the elections in 2019 and 68% on the possibility that the ANC w ould be split after the watershed elective conference in December. “This is based on the last elective confer ences. After the electi ve conference (2007) where Zuma was elected, Cope was formed and in 2012 the EFF was formed. There is a trend that at every gathering every loser starts new parties.” Mathekga said after the December conference, Ramaphosa would be the loser and Dlamini Zuma would win the race for the presidency. Mashele g ave Dlamini Zuma a 70% chance of becoming the next ANC president because “the person sponsoring her campaign, Jacob Zuma, controls the structures of the ANC”. “Zuma has contr ol over those who run provinces. In tur n, they have control over the delegates who will vote at the elective conference in December. That is why Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has alr eady won the conference,” he said.
Earlier yesterday, speaking on Radio 702, UK politician and businessman Lord Anthony St John of Bletso said investors had expressed concerns a bout political de velopments in the country f ollowing Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle in which he fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister. He called on Rama phosa to be more vocal and “stand up for what is right”.
“Ramaphosa is not a good choice. He is not bold enough and not v ery a ggressive. He doesn ’t have a base in the ANC and the odds are stacked against him,” said Mathekga. This came as the ANC’s alliance partners, the SA CP and Cosa tu ratcheted up their onslaught on Zuma, with the la bour federa tion reiterating it w ould soon send a delegation to con vince him privately to step down. Yesterday, Cosa tu g eneral secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali told a provincial shop ste ward council meeting at the Johannesburg City Hall that leaders should know “when (their) leadership is no longer desired. Workers should not be marching for you to step down”. He accused Zuma of ha ving double standards on the leadership succession. “When the president wanted to be president, he didn’t remember tha t w omen can lead. But no w he has to step down, he remembers tha t women can lead…”
Speaking a t the same e vent, SACP leader and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande suggested they had made a mistake by removing former president Thabo Mbeki in 2008, thinking they w ere addressing challenges within the ruling move-ment.
“Some of the things tha t were happening ther e (during Mbeki’ s era) was the f act that there wasn’t enough consulta tion in the movement. No w, the same things are continuing.”
Cyril doesn’t have a base in ANC. The odds are stacked against him
DOUBTS: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership abilities came under fire yesterday.