The Factions in the ANC
As widely-reported, the combined political opposition under the leadership of the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Cape Town’s Parliament tabled a motion of no confidence in the President of the Republic of South Africa and his cabinet.
Parliament is obligated to schedule it for debate.
Subsequently, the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) was informed that President Jacob Zuma agreed with the Political Committee to put the motion of no confidence on the agenda of Parliament.
The ruling ANC has the majority in Parliament and would thus win the debate.
According to ANC spokesman, Jackson Mthembu, the movement sees no urgency in that matter and will bide by the decision of the NEC. This means, the motion of no confidence will be debated sometime next year and after the outcome in Mangaung.
The media quoted ANC Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, explaining that three motions had been put before Parliament which include: (i) the leader of opposition party Congress of the People (COPE), Mosioua Lekota, would be sanctioned for attacking Jacob Zuma; (ii) a motion of no confidence in President Zuma by opposition parties; and (iii) the ANC’s motion of confidence in President Zuma.
According to senior members of the ANC NEC, all allegations levelled at the President will be dealt with so that they would not be raised again.
Meanwhile, the majority of the ANC branches throughout South Africa back Jacob Zuma to get a second term in office as President of the ruling ANC and therefore, of the country.
The support of his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, seems rather marginal. His supporters, as well as his opponents now seem to have a problem with Motlanthe’s “fence-sitting”, never showing his hand.
Following Motlanthe’s political record, it is highly likely that he will not avail himself to stand against the incumbent, as he has realised that President Zuma has a lot of backing to date.
By having sided from the onset with the likes of Tokyo Sexwale, Mathews Phosa, Paul Mashathile, Julius Malema, Fikile Mbalula, Thandi Modise, many of Zuma’s supporters and seasoned political observers view Motlanthe as part of a “small internal group of political opportunists with a hidden agenda, to undermine the ANC from within, even linked to the break-away group, Congress of the People”.
Senior ANC members have even gone as far as accusing the Motlanthe camp within the ANC of “having succumbed to cheap chequebook politics”.
Some of the leadership of the ANC Youth League have publicly challenged their candidate, Kgalema Motlanthe, to now openly side with them before the Mangaung Elective Conference.
A Motlanthe camp insider mentioned to this writer that “the Deputy President will step down out of protest, if Zuma gets his second term at the Mangaung Conference in December”.
“The Deputy President could find himself to be an ordinary member of the ANC as well as of Parliament. He too would be forgotten.”
Such a move could make way for seasoned businessman and politician, former trade unionist and former ANC Secretary-General, Cyril Ramaphosa, to take over from Motlanthe as deputy leader. Ramaphosa could then also become the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa.
If however, Motlanthe will neither oppose Zuma, nor stand down in protest, he will remain as Deputy President. As one political observer asked, “Why would Motlanthe stand against Zuma, when he knows from the onset that he would not stand a chance against the incumbent? This is illogical.”
Senior sources within the ANC NEC have said, “As for the ambitious Tokyo Sexwale, who wants to be president of the ANC and South Africa at all costs, he will most likely find himself out of cabinet, out of the NEC, reduced to an ordinary member of the movement.
“Sexwale did not deliver as Minister of Housing in the Cabinet of Zuma. He’ll possibly return to his floundering business, Mvelaphanda.”
The respected senior members went on to say, “And … Mathews Phosa will not be in the top six of the ANC as of Mangaung. He too could be reduced to become an ordinary member of the ANC.”
It would stretch anyone’s imagination if the likes of Thandi Modise, member of the top six of the ANC, member of the ANC NEC and Premier of the North West Province, as well as former ANCYL president, ANC NEC and cabinet member, Fikile Mbalula and his ANC and cabinet colleague, Paul Mashathile would be seen in the top leadership of the ANC after Mangaung.
If Zuma wins a second term as President of the ANC and therefore, of South Africa, and then goes ahead to strengthen the movement by building the branches countrywide, enhancing national debate and uprooting corruption, he will leave his legacy as having worked against all odds in a hostile and rightwing racist political and economic climate.
• Udo W Froese is a political and socio-economic analyst and columnist based in Johannesburg, South Africa.