Cyril’s 2020: ANC or SA?
UPCOMING SPEECH: INVESTMENT THE TARGET IN PRE-SONA ADDRESS
With the ruling party still divided by Jacob Zuma-era factionalism, Ramaphosa will be expected to do a balancing act between party issues and what is in the national interest when he speaks in Kimberley at the party’s upcoming 108th anniversary, an expert says.
Jacob Zuma fallout still haunting the party faithful.
Leading an ANC that has not fully recovered from the impact of Jacob Zuma-era factionalism, President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to push for party unity, while also addressing the country’s socioeconomic challenges, when addressing the ANC 108th anniversary and January 8 Statement in Kimberley next weekend.
Commenting on the upcoming event that will see tens of thousands of ANC supporters descend on the Northern Cape – one of the country’s most impoverished provinces – University of South Africa’s professor of international politics Karina van Wyk said Ramaphosa would be expected to do “a balancing act between party issues and what is in the national interest”.
“While, historically, the January 8 Statement has been about how the party plans to find a way forward on key political and economic issues, now that the ANC has been in government for over two decades, it has become a precursor for the State of the Nation Address (Sona). This, in itself, makes it important enough for the world to pay attention.
“It is an important event at which President Ramaphosa will set the tone on what to expect in Sona. He is expected to touch on a myriad issues that face all South Africans, regardless of political party affiliation or ideological persuasion.
“These include how government intends addressing national cohesion, equitable access to resources, societal ills, the land redistribution issue, economic growth, attracting more foreign direct investment and the poor state of SA’s stateowned enterprises – Eskom in particular,” said Van Wyk.
“Regaining investor confidence and making South Africa an attractive investment destination, would be among elements in the speech that foreign diplomats and business will look forward to hear,” she said.
Reflecting on ANC internal political undercurrents, Van Wyk said: “We should all remember that internal contestation in the battle for strategic leadership positions in any political party is not something unique to the ANC.
“In any political party, there are very strong personalities who wish to achieve things for their common good, careers, ideology and strong ambition to lead.
“The ANC has still not fully shaken off remnants from the Zuma fallout.
“The president is fully aware of these party dynamics – conscious of the latest trend within the ANC that has seen leaders being removed.
“Hence, his challenge is about balancing matters between party and national interest.
“What has made him ineffective in service delivery is that he is overseeing the mending of party cracks caused by opposing factions, something that becomes a hindrance to him realising his agenda in government.
“While appeasing the party, he is also expected to play a role of becoming a leading catalyst in attracting investment into the country.”
Ramaphosa would also use the event to kick-start the campaign for the upcoming local government elections.”
While the ANC event was expected to create a business boom in the Northern Cape – a province faced with a huge unemployment, poverty, drought and high levels of foetal alcohol syndrome – Van Wyk said any economic boost would be “symbolic”.
“Businesses like bed and breakfasts – catering and other small businesses – are likely to benefit during this month.
“Provincial ANC leaders and communities will certainly use the presence of high-profile party leaders, who will include ministers, to draw attention to realities of drought and farmers not getting enough assistance,” said Van Wyk.
According to provincial ANC spokesperson Naledi Gaosekwe the event, which will take place on January 11, will be held at the Tafel Lager Park Stadium (formerly Absa Stadium), with an adjacent field serving as an overflow venue to avert incidents of stampeding.
“Giant screens will be erected in both venues to relay visuals and audio messages from speakers, who will include alliance leaders. Gates will open at 7am and the president will deliver the speech at 10.30am,” said Gaosekwe.
The president is fully aware of these party dynamics