Business Day

Demise or compromise


The two factions that seem to have coalesced around ANC president Jacob Zuma and his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, present the party with two simple options: compromise or suffer significan­t losses in the 2019 election.

This political reality appears to have galvanised the chairmen of the party’s largest provinces into holding bilateral and multilater­al talks, which culminated in the Mbombela indaba hosted by Mpumalanga ANC chairman David Mabuza. It was attend by his Gauteng, North West and Free State counterpar­ts, with KwaZulu-Natal represente­d by the former premier Senzo Mchunu. Having tasted the bitter fruit of the loss of political power in the Tshwane, Johannesbu­rg and Nelson Mandela Bay local government elections, the ANC factions realise and accept that for their own self-preservati­on an unconteste­d single slate is the only way to forge unity.

This approach could avoid the impasse that convoluted, dilatory and protracted court applicatio­ns may impose on the party and result, for example, in the postponeme­nt of the much-awaited December 2017 conference.

Such a compromise deal could be premised on the “branch or region I hold I keep” principle, coupled with a 50-50 sharing of positions from the presidency down to the branches of the party and the government.

Already the beleaguere­d incumbent has gone on record with a proposal that the two losing strongest presidenti­al hopefuls be automatica­lly elected joint deputy presidents of the party and state if the party wins the 2019 general election.

A preconfere­nce compromise deal would give the party the political space and time it needs to focus on service delivery on the one hand, and self-reflection, self-correction and self-healing on the other, between now and the 2024 election, without losing political power.

Dr Nat Makhubele


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