ANC Watch

And, round one goes to Ramaphosa

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa

Round one in the keenly contested fight for the ANC leadership seems to be going the way of the crowd favourite, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

After some months of preparatory fights and public training sessions around the country to woe the support of the crowds, the bell for the first official rounds in the scrap for the leadership of the African National Congress has rung – nominations of candidates have officially started.

The final result will only be known after the final round in December, once the votes have been counted at the ANC’s elective conference when the counting of votes are done.

Opening round of contender one

In predictable style, the one main contender Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and her promotors came out of her corner with some dirty tricks – the main one being an attack on the integrity and image of the other main contender Ramaphosa. Fighting on a “women for president” ticket it was for them a bonus to cast doubt over his treatment of women.

In an analytical article of the subject, Professor Dirk Kotze of the  University of South Africa, of The Conversation wrote: ’The recent media “revelations” about South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s several alleged extramarital affairs are the classic approach to creating doubt about a prominent person’s integrity.

“They also call into question his claim to be a suitable moral or ethical alternative to President Jacob Zuma’s corrupt administration. The latest accusations are meant to attack the very foundation of his campaign to lead both the ANC and the country. Ramaphosa admitted to having had an affair a decade ago.”

Kotze also points out that it is not the first for that of tactics come out of that corner when the battle of the top title of the party and the country is at stake.

Another former deputy president and secretary-general of the ANC, who also competed with president Jacob Zuma for the top spot, Kgalema Motlanthe, went through a similar experience.

And, so did Blade Nzimande, general-secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Minister of Higher Education.

Kotze further remarks that “with the available information, the Ramaphosa case appears to be an example of the tried-and-tested trick of spreading rumours about or exposing infidelity.

‘It is noteworthy that Ramaphosa’s defence mentions this directly, and that state institutions are being used (by the pro-Zuma group) to neutralise his election campaign.

It would seem that the latest attack is rather the escalation of an existing campaign than the start of it, Kotze notes that the “campaign to discredit Ramaphosa has gone through several stages:

  • These were followed by the claim that he was being manipulated by a “white clique” that manage his election campaign and that he was, therefore, not genuinely “black”.
  • He was also accused of having beaten his ex-wife. But, she refuted the allegation.”

“The latest line of attack seeks to advance the view that his moral outrage against Zuma’s corruption and unethical leadership is compromised by his own immoral extramarital relations. Importantly, he admitted to having had an affair a decade ago.”

Ramaphosa’s response

Ramaphosa’s foot work in response was excellent. First, he bought himself some time to assess the situation – retreating to the moral high ground by admitting a misstep eight years ago, apologised to his family, and accepting responsibility.

He initially promised a full statement later. In the meantime, information came to the fore of how and his wife is supporting promising students.

While he had time to go back to his own corner to consult about tactics, going forward, the other corner overplayed their hand, creating innocent victims with distasteful social media campaigning, and one woman implicated even declaring she as one of the beneficiaries of the Ramaphosa trust fund has never met him in person.

After consultation with his ‘corner’ he declared that he was counselled by a number of leaders within the African National Congress (ANC) and provincial and regional ANC structures, and: “… they said to me, ‘Deputy President, when you addressed this matter …  you said you take responsibility for your actions and accountability. And you said you’d discussed it with your family and your wife, as far as we are concerned, that matter should rest there and we do not believe you should take it any further.’”

Now, with all the pressure back on the other ‘corner’ to explain how they got hold of Ramaphosa’s private emails to leak out of context, legal action by at least one innocent victim to protect her dignity and, information about the use of state security resources for narrow political purposes; and the general sentiment among ANC spokespersons and those of Cosatu is one of dismay, the first round clearly belongs to the Ramaphosa ‘corner.’

Going forward

However, as warned by Kotze, if the Ramaphosa “revelations” are “seen in the same light as the Hawks’ investigations into former finance minister Trevor Manuel and his deputy Jabu Moleketi; and then former South African Revenue Service Commissioner Pravin Gordhan, about SARS intelligence and Treasury management; it sends a message to Ramaphosa supporters: to tread carefully in the future.

“The fact that the ANC leadership nomination process has commenced, and that intense contestation can be expected ahead of the party’s national elective conference in December, the possibility of serious incidents shouldn’t be excluded.

Political assassinations already underway in KwaZulu-Natal might increase.”

It is also unlikely that this will be the last “fake news” round in the in “fight of the decade.” Only time will tell whether ‘fake news” or a string of court cases will have the biggest influence on the final outcome.

 Also read: ANC & have SA on tender hooks

by Intelligence Bulletin Team

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