Eric Naki
Political Editor
3 minute read
10 Nov 2017
5:00 am

Sisulu’s refusal to become Ramaphosa’s deputy sank her presidential campaign, say ANC insiders

Eric Naki

She had been politically courted by Ramaphosa for months as his deputy, but she publicly called for him to become her deputy presidential candidate.

Lindiwe Sisulu. Gallo Images

Presidential hopeful Lindiwe Sisulu might have blown her chances of becoming the country’s deputy president and future president.

Even those close to her are mystified by her intransigence in insisting on standing for the presidency – which she had no prospect of winning – instead of taking up an offer from Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to become his running mate in the current ANC presidential race.

Despite being snubbed by Ramaphosa – who announced Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor as her replacement – Sisulu is forging ahead with her campaign to become first ANC and then SA president.

But ANC insiders say she might regret her decision. Gauteng branches are putting pressure on Sisulu to change her mind and go for the second spot.

The branches said they reserved the presidency for Ramaphosa, not her. This message was loud and clear to the minister of human settlements when she campaigned in the Vaal Triangle at the weekend.

I don’t see Sisulu coming back on this one

The leadership at Albert Nkutha ANC branch in Sedibeng did not mince their words as they told Sisulu to stop her campaign and join Ramaphosa.

Branch chairperson Mthuzimele Sikukula told The Citizen yesterday they would continue to lobby Sisulu to accept the deputy position, as she did not reject their proposal and appeared amenable to it.

Sisulu had been politically courted by Ramaphosa for months as his deputy, but instead of accepting, she publicly called for him to become her deputy presidential candidate.

Her reason was that it was time for women to lead the ANC. An Eastern Cape ANC member close to the Ramaphosa campaign said: “It is a missed opportunity. I don’t know why she insists on running for the presidency when she knows she can’t win it alone. Which branch has nominated her? Nothing. The women’s league in the Eastern Cape who raised her name are a drop in the ocean.”

When the CR-17 campaign team failed to win Sisulu over, they looked for an alternative, because Ramaphosa insisted on a woman to be his deputy in line with the ANC’s policy of gender balance.

But Ramaphosa came under sharp criticism within the ANC for naming his leadership team contrary to the party’s opposition to slate politics.

Sisulu also entered the fray and indirectly criticised Ramaphosa for pursuing slate politics, which she said would kill the ANC.

Despite her exclusion, some ANC members believe it’s not too late for Ramaphosa and Sisulu to reconcile and for her to be reinstated as his deputy, or for her to be offered the deputy secretary-general post.

Political analyst Dumisani Hlophe said Sisulu stayed too long in her campaign to be president. She failed to realise that it was not for her.

“I don’t see Sisulu coming back on this one. She displayed such a hostile posture towards Cyril and even lambasted Gwede Mantashe and those who were not going to help her in the Ramaphosa camp,” Hlophe said.

But, sources said, the confusion over Sisulu and Pandor could give a chance for someone else, such as Zweli Mkhize, to take the position. –


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