The ANC’s succession battle is taking shape following the party’s recently concluded 5th national policy conference, with six presidential candidates now reportedly vying to succeed President Jacob Zuma as the ruling party’s next leader amid internal factions and crippling state capture allegations.
It is understood the ANC’s Alfred Nzo region in the Eastern Cape wants a “third way” in the leadership race that has been dominated mainly by frontrunners Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The region wants to lobby the party’s branches to back treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize when nominations officially open in September, with his slate including ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and Paul Mashatile, the party’s Gauteng chairperson.
Other reports suggest Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu could announce her candidacy for the ANC’s top job soon.
The Mail & Guardian also reported on Friday that delegates at the SACP’s 14th national congress, currently taking place in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, were considering an alternative political party to be led by Ramaphosa, should the deputy president lose the election to Dlamini-Zuma.
According to political analyst Karima Brown, the discussions to form a united front consisting of civil society and ANC veterans with a view of contesting the 2019 general elections is in preparation of a possible split within the party, should the Zuma faction emerge victorious.
“What it does signify is that an incredible amount of horse trading is going to happen, and it’s already under way. We saw it on the side lines of the [ANC] policy conference a week or so ago, we saw it now on the sidelines of the SACP conference people beginning to talk about all manner of options,” she told Radio 702 on Friday morning.
“What is very interesting is that whilst the ANC is shaping up around the presidential succession race, there also are fundamental talks about whether the party is still in fact the vehicle to contest elections … Everything is hinging on this race shaping up. “
Brown said in January and February next year, South Africans could see interesting developments within the ANC, depending on what happens at its national elective conference in December.
Here are the six presidential candidates mooted for the ANC’s succession race:
- Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa
- ANC national executive committee member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
- Former ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa
- Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu
- ANC national chairperson and National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete
- ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize