Supporters of President Jacob Zuma within the African National Congress (ANC) have reportedly promised to destabilise Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s unofficial campaign to become the next leader of the ruling party.
Ramaphosa, who is seen as a frontrunner along with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed Zuma when his term ends as ANC president later this year in December, his campaign has gained momentum after the head of state was humiliated and booed at Cosatu’s Workers’ Day rally in Bloemfontein on Monday, Business Day reports.
According to the report, ANC Youth League president Collen Maine on Tuesday said the young lions would make Ramaphosa’s life “difficult”.
“We are going to boo Ramaphosa back, and it won’t be nice. We are going to make life difficult for him. We are going to boo him in an ANC meeting before we boo him at a rally,” Maine was quoted as saying by the paper.
The youth league leader also claimed that the disruptions in Bloemfontein by workers affiliated to Cosatu, which called for Zuma to step down in April and backed Ramaphosa for the ANC’s top job, were done in the name of the deputy president.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte and chairperson Baleka Mbete were also jeered at other Cosatu rallies held in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal respectively, while Ramaphosa received a warm reception in Mpumalanga.
“People were mobilised by the anti-Zuma faction to embarrass Zuma … Baleka Mbete and Jessie Duarte were booed, but Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe and Zweli Mkhize were allowed to speak.
“We are alive to the fact that this is informed by the factional battles within the ANC,” Maine said.
The ANCYL, ANC Women’s League, and the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) have unofficially backed Dlamini-Zuma to succeed her ex-husband including the so-called “Premier’s League” – an informal ANC lobby group consisting of the party’s provincial chairpersons and premiers of North West, Mpumalanga and Free State.
MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe also warned Cosatu members not to provoke the ANC, saying the trade union federation should focus on workers’ issues.