The bombshell released by an ANC national Executive member Bheki Cele about plans to fire the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks much not only about the deepened crisis within the governing party but also of the state of democracy in South Africa.
Bheki Cele announced at the Shop Stewards’ Council in Durban that the Deputy President and Presidential hopeful’s job is on the line as part of ways to disrupt the forth coming National Conference in December.
Admitting that the ANC has been broken down by a number of divisions and added that the plot to fire Cyril Ramaphosa was to destabilise the country and cause enough chaos for the December elective conference not to go ahead.
“We’re hearing rumours that there are plans to remove Ramaphosa, to cause chaos & then stop the conference in December,” he said, without giving details on who may have sent the message or more details on the alleged plot.
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Cele’s comment about seeing a message which outlines plans to remove Cyril Ramaphosa but did not mention who could possibly replace him came amid mounting speculation that another Cabinet shake up is imminent after it was announced that presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is heading back to Parliament.
Though this may come as a shock to many, South Africa’s political state alongside the divisions in the governing party over who Zuma wants as President against who other party members want, reveals a clash of interest at work.
There are, however, speculations that the Deputy President would not become the governing party’s future leader not because he isn’t qualified, but because of the interest of a group within the party, headed by President Zuma, is at stake.
The decision to deploy African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee (NEC) member Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to Parliament fueled speculation that another Cabinet reshuffle is on the cards and that Ramaphosa would likely be on the list of those to be fired.
This follows an ‘infidelity’ e-mails against Cyril Ramaphosa which was allegedly masterminded by the Zuma faction.
Zuma would do all it takes to ensure that Dlamini-Zuma succeeds him because if she does, it would have little to do with affirming her abilities to lead the party as its first female president.
“The thing about South Africa being ready for a female president is just rhetoric. He’s trying to sound smart, to appear like he supports women,” said political analysts.
Obviously, Dlamini-Zuma’s task, if she does take over from Zuma, would be to protect him from facing corruption charges.
EFF leader Julius Malema had months back poked holes in Dlamini-Zuma’s credibility, saying Nkosazana is corrupt. “How do you accept an award from the Guptas if you are not corrupt? How do you legitimise such an illegal institution that is stealing money from our government?” asked Malema.
Malema was referring to the 2015 award the former AU chair received from the Guptas when the family named her “South African of the Year”.
Not only Cyril Ramaphosa’s job is on the line following the rumoured cabinet reshuffle, Blade Nzimande is also likely to be axed because of his volatile relationship with President Jacob Zuma and replaced by ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in that portfolio.
Though the Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande refused to be drawn into commenting on the rumours, Sunday Times report revealed that the firing was imminent.
The papers also revealed that the plan is for the former African Union (AU) chair to announce free higher education in order to woo the youth vote in the 2019 national general election.
There are also speculations that Dlamini-Zuma’s move to Parliament leaves the door open for Zuma to make an early exit from the government once a successor has been appointed at the ANC’s elective conference in December.
Should a reshuffle happen it would be the second one this year, after a dramatic one in March, which saw the sacking of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.