will President Ramaphosa be reappointed by the ANC?

Two months before a decisive conference of the ANC, the historic ruling party in South Africa, now divided, President Cyril Ramaphosa seems weakened as he wants to be invested to run for a second term in the 2024 elections. .

A scandal linked to wads of cash found in one of his properties, during a burglary in 2020, tarnishes the image of the one who presented himself as a “clean hands” champion when he succeeded Jacob Zuma, himself fallen for corruption, and places him on the defensive.

South African experts examine possible scenarios:

Q: Can Ramaphosa still be invested by the ANC?

A: “He remains the best-placed candidate,” said political scientist Susan Booysen. “Ramaphosa will probably come out of it but the degree of certainty has dropped. He remains the clear favorite but his credibility has been shaken like never before”, nuance Eusebius McKaiser, political commentator.

“He is not in the strongest position but remains the most likely to win”, faced with the absence of a well-positioned opponent and thanks to the support he continues to enjoy within the party, confirms Pearl Mncube, political scientist at Frontline Africa Advisory.

Mr. Ramaphosa, a former protege of Nelson Mandela who became a wealthy businessman before returning to politics, fell from his pedestal.

“Before, he was an icon of the fight to clean” the country of corruption, “a paragon of virtue, even if he came from the business world”, underlines Ms Booysen. The scandal linked to his property in Phala Phala (north-east) raises “doubts of his probity and reminds us that he is not a superman”.

But “despite all the weaknesses of the current president, if we compare to the other candidates, he remains the best chance” for the ANC to stay in power, believes Mr. McKaiser.

Recent polls show that the ANC, which for the first time in its history fell below the 50% mark in local elections in 2021, could repeat this poor performance in 2024.

Q: Who are his opponents within the ANC?

A: There are many but for the moment, no name federates opposition to Mr. Ramaphosa.

Former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, who resigned in August 2021 after being accused of embezzling budgets allocated to Covid prevention campaigns, “has a chance”, he remains popular, believes Ms Booysen.

The other well-known candidates, Lindiwe Sisulu and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, “did not garner support in the provinces, whereas Messrs. Ramaphosa and Mhize do”.

“All the other candidates are imperfect, so there is no real threat” for Mr. Ramaphosa, believes Eusebius McKaiser.

Many delegates who vote “are aware that their own career is linked to the success of the ANC in the elections”, he underlines. Therefore, “whatever their inclination, they will also think, selfishly, about the candidate who guarantees them the best chance of keeping their job”.

The ANC has never been so contested in the country and Mr. Ramaphosa being “the least bad of the candidates”, some delegates could “support him”, pushed by this context, he insists.

Q: Former President Zuma recently called Mr. Ramaphosa a traitor and corrupt. What influence can he have on the vote?

A: It is “less important than he thinks,” says McKaiser. Mr. Zuma’s press conference on Saturday was “the diatribe of a guy desperate to pose as an influencer, not the calm and persuasive communication of a man convinced of his power”, judges the experienced commentator.

If he had a real influence, his candidate, his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, would have received the support of his region, the Zulu country, which is not even the case, underline several experts.


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