The process of selecting and endorsing President Zuma’s successor have not been different from nailing jelly to the wall – not just in the ruling party alone, but also among its affiliates.
After a tentative search for Zuma’s successor, the Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu), the third tier of the ANC-led trinity, has finally settled for deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Zuma’s tenure as ANC president ends in 2019 and the party is expected to choose a new leader ahead of national elections in 2019 when he will step down as South Africa’s president.
The tripartite alliance member’s ‘official’ endorsement was announced by Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali on Thursday following its three-day central executive meeting.
Speaking to reporters, Ntshalintshali said the union’s sole aim of endorsing Ramaphosa is to avoid contested elective conference next year. Cosatu also disclosed that it would request other ANC structure to back Ramaphosa.
The union’s statement reads:
“After an intense and robust debate, the CEC [central executive committee] has resolved to support and lobby for the deputy president of the ANC, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, to take over the reins as the next president of the ANC.”
Ramaphosa was reportedly tipped to wrestle for the ruling party’s headship with Zuma’s ex-spouse Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in 2017.
In September, the National Union of Miners (NUM) publicly declared its support for Deputy President Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma as the next leader of the ANC. The union argued Mr. Ramaphosa has been perfectly groomed to replace Jacob Zuma.
Deputy President Ramaphosa also got a thumbs up from the youth league of the South African Communist Party (SACP) – the Young Communist League (YCL).
Earlier this year, FeesMustFall leader Mcebo Dlamini, in an interview, re-echoed his support for Ramaphosa. According to him, the deputy president is perfect to lead SA because replacing President Zuma with Dlamini-Zuma means “replacing oneself with oneself”.
No doubt, these endorsements must be a blow for President Jacob Zuma and his allies who have been pushing for African Union commission chairwoman Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him.
Nevertheless, we hope the ANC will have a peaceful conference next year.