IS THIS ZUMA’S ULTIMATE STRATEGY?
As the ANC elective conference nears, a preagreed unity slate may be Jacob Zuma’s goal
WITH the release of the ANC delegate numbers there have been endless numbercrunching exercises going on.
Although there are many things that are difficult to predict in terms of the outcome of the ANC elective conference in December, it is absolutely certain that the Jacob Zuma camp will only allow the conference to proceed if they are confident that they will win.
What the numbers are showing us is that the most likely win for them would be a Zweli Mkhize and Nkosazana Dlam iniZuma combined slate.
Even though they did not manage to load the KZN numbers, the Zuma faction cleverly secured massive growth in the Premier League provinces, while the Cyril Ramaphosaaligned provinces either stayed the same or declined.
With increases of 130% in North West, 57% in Mpumalanga and 26% in the Free State, the Premier League now has 54% of the overall delegates, as opposed to 48% at the previous conference. In a twohorse race between Ramaphosa and a candidate from the Zuma faction, if Ramaphosa got 25% of the Premier League, 30% of KZN, 70% of Western Cape and Gauteng, 80% of the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, as well as 90% of the Northern Cape, it would be virtually equal.
Assuming that there are no other can didates splitting his support base, Ramaphosa could possibly secure this, but it would be a huge effort.
However, if Mkhize remains in the race, things would change dramatically. With Ramaphosa securing the same percentages, but Mkhize and DlaminiZuma splitting the Premier League and KZN votes, Ramaphosa could win comfortably. Having certainly done the same calculations, the Zuma camp will not risk a scenario where DlaminiZuma and Mkhize split the votes. Which explains the push for the third way (or the Zuma Plan B), where they would either convince DlaminiZuma to withdraw or negotiate a combined ticket with Mkhize.
With this third way one of two scenarios is possible. If Ramaphosa cannot secure the percentages indicated above, a Mkhize/DlaminiZuma slate will win.
Alternatively, if Ramaphosa can secure the percentages mentioned above it would once again be close to equal, even with a combined slate.
This would be a very dangerous scenario. A result this close would likely lead to a court challenge or even open violence, causing a huge crisis for the ANC. It would also deepen existing divisions, something the ANC would want to avoid at all costs.
If this seems likely in a few weeks, the push to secure a deal beforehand will escalate. An agreed uncontested slate “for the sake of unity” will pressure Ramaphosa to withdraw. As they argued to the parliamentary caucus prior to the vote of no confidence, the Zuma faction (and those on the margins of both factions) will continue to argue that such a compromise will secure stability, unity and the survival of the ANC, thus preventing an electoral defeat in 2019.
It is a very strong argument and would be very difficult for the Ramaphosa camp to counter.
There is another reason Zuma might be interested in the preagreed third way. There are whispers in the ANC that he is considering standing as chairperson of the ANC, an idea he might have got from his friend Vladimir Putin, who followed a similar path.
At first glance this might look like an unlikely scenario, but if his exwife’s bid for the top job runs into serious trouble, Zuma would almost certainly not trust anyone else to secure his legacy (and he would argue — the future of the party). As chairperson, he might no longer be president of the ANC, but he would still carry significant weight. He would have a major role in decisions of the party and on the direction the government would take, whether he is president or not.
Since there are no term limits in the ANC constitution, he would be able to retain this position of influence beyond his time as president of SA. Most importantly, as one of the top office bearers it would also mean that he would be part of any decision relating to the possible prosecution of him and/or his children.
However, Zuma would be unlikely to want to have to contest the position and should he decide to go for it, he would almost certainly want it to be part of a preagreed third way. It would probably mean that DlaminiZuma would have to withdraw since two Zumas among the office bearers might be overreach.
Without any doubt, this would be a very controversial step by Zuma. Howev er, he still has significant support and popularity among ANC cadres and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he would be able to achieve this. It would be a curved ball that few would expect.
From his director’s chair in the Union Buildings, Zuma will know that the numbers make it virtually impossible for Ramaphosa to win with a landslide. He will also know that DlaminiZuma’s campaign is in trouble, especially if Mkhize stands, making a joint slate between them the best option if the Zuma faction wants to retain control.
We will have to wait and see whether he throws his own hat in the ring. If he does decide to stand as chairperson, any attempt to spin this as a unity slate would be laughable. — News24.