This is after Limpopo premier and ANC provincial chairperson, Stan Mathabatha, backed Ramaphosa to secure a second term at the party’s 110th birthday celebration on Saturday.
Police Minister Bheki Cele also endorsed Ramaphosa for a second term as the ANC’s leader.
‘ANC will be destroyed’
He described Mathabatha’s endorsement “even without a mandate from his province” as an “indecent early rush” and “awful ill-discipline”, saying the ANC Limpopo chair is selling the narrative that Ramaphosa’s candidacy is “inevitable”.
“Thus, they are trying to blackmail anyone with different views into accepting that it is either an unopposed Ramaphosa, or the ANC will be destroyed,” Niehaus said in a statement.
Niehaus reiterated that the ANC and “our country” will be destroyed if Ramaphosa continues as president.
“The continuation of Ramaphosa as president is certainly not the way to save the ANC, it is the most certain way to destroy the ANC. Ramaphosa is the most disastrous president that the ANC has had in the 110 years of our existence.
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“The terrible results of the local government elections, that reduced the ANC to 46.4% of the vote, confirmed this,” he said.
In November last year, Niehaus said he wants Ramaphosa removed after the ANC’s loss of support in elections. The party’s national support dipped below 50% for the first time since the dawn of democracy.
Niehaus argued that Ramaphosa being made the face of the ANC’s campaigns across municipalities meant the vote became a referendum on the president – a referendum he believes ended in a “resounding vote of no confidence” in the president.
‘Free from bribes’
Meanwhile, he also indicated a new ANC president must be democratically elected through its internal organisational processes which must be “free from bribes and vote buying”, citing the CR17 campaign as an example.
He added that Ramaphosa will be challenged and must be replaced as ANC president.
“Anything else is an utter nightmare for the continuing survival of the ANC as a liberation movement, and a fate too ghastly to contemplate,” Niehaus said.
Niehaus’s ANC membership was reinstated at the end of September after the party failed to charge him over allegations of putting the party into disrepute.
He had laid criminal charges against the party for not paying staff salaries.
His ANC membership had been temporarily suspended for defying the ANC’s national executive committee’s (NEC’s) decision to disband the MKMVA as well as for his “inflammatory speeches” made outside of Zuma’s Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
Zuma’s son, Duduzane, is expected to run for the ANC presidency after he claimed that the party needs “fresh and younger perspectives”.
In an interview with Newsbreak Lotus last year, Duduzane revealed that he had begun processes to contest the ANC leadership at the ruling party’s 55th National Conference set to take place in December 2022.
Duduzane, who also mentioned his political ambition to one day become South Africa’s president, said that he had already started lobbying support from some ANC branches in KwaZulu-Natal.