by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa’s retaining the presidency of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is an emphatic survival to his political career.
Ramaphosa came to this elective conference, held at Nasrec, west of Johannesburg, on shaky ground owing to the Phala Phala farm scandal and economic downturn.
However, he has prevailed and garnered a second term and most likely another term at the helm of the country when polls are held in 2024.
In Nasrec, Ramaphosa defeated his former health minister, Zweli Mkhize, by 2 476 against 1 897 votes.
The election of his backers into the top seven positions in the governing party and the defeat of his critics puts Ramaphosa in good stead to consolidate his power.
Paul Mashatile has been elected Deputy President.
Gwede Mantashe retained his position as Chairman.
Fikile Mbalula has emerged the Secretary General, the ruling party’s heartbeat position.
He will be deputised by Maropene Ramokgopa and Nomvula Mokonyane.
Gwen Ramokgopa is the new Treasurer-General.
This outcome is the latest twist in what has been a dramatic, if not chaotic, conference by the factionalised party that is the oldest liberation movement in the African continent.
Never has in its 110-year history the ANC been so divided.
Security had to be called in at the opening day on Friday as a delegation from the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) disrupted the address by Ramaphosa.
KZN, ANC’s biggest branch, backed Mkhize and is aligned to former president, Jacob Zuma.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma declined a nomination from the floor to contest for the presidency.
Her future in the ANC is uncertain after the party opened a probe into her conduct after she last week defied the organisation and voted in favour of the impeachment of Ramaphosa.
ANC has been in power since 1994, a couple of years after the demise of apartheid.
The elective conference came at a time the economy is struggling, service delivery waning and a majority sinking further into poverty.
South Africans missed parts of the televised conference because of power cuts, running to eight hours per day at the time of the congress.
“Ramaphosa winning means more corruption and load shedding,” said analyst, Sifiso Mkhize.
“This country has gone to the wolves. Very difficult times lie ahead,” Mkhize added in an interview.
Opposition leader, Mmusi Maimane, said, “The ANC has chosen its leaders but the lives of South Africans are still plagued with six hours of load shedding every day, potholes on the roads.”
He also lamented the prevalent crime and economic problems.
“Everyone is watching their phones and bags when they go out, for fear of criminals. There are no jobs and families are going hungry,” Maimane said.
Critics accuse Ramaphosa of prioritising the revival of the ANC at the expense of South Africa.
He has in recent months been focused on redeeming his image and political future following the Farmgate scandal.
It is alleged US$4 million (equivalent to R62 million) stashed inside a couch at Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm was stolen in 2020.
Apparently, this was in breach of Reserve Bank regulations.
The funds are said to have been proceeds from the sale of game.
It is alleged the theft was not reported to law enforcers. Instead, suspects supposedly involved in the theft were allegedly kidnapped and interrogated at the infamous farm.
They were allegedly bribed not to reveal the incident.
A commission established by Parliament concluded that the president had a case to answer and preached the constitution.
Ramaphosa has appealed against the findings of the panel.
– CAJ News