Recent political upheavals in South Africa, following Zuma’s recent cabinet reshuffle, has seen much of the SA Deputy President indirectly attacking his boss.
This time, he made his attack official as he declared his intention to contest the ANC leadership and take the battle to President Jacob Zuma’s camp.
Ramaphosa who reiterated the need for the matter about state capture to be taken serious, took a swipe at Jacob Zuma and the controversial Gupta family who are particularly linked to the state capture saga, calling for a judicial commission into state capture.
Addressing a Chris Hani memorial lecture in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, Ramaphosa repeated his criticism of President Jacob Zuma’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, alleging that Zuma’s new cabinet and the awarding of government contracts was not without the usual influence of the Guptas.
He called for all allegations of state capture had to be probed and that unity within the ANC should not be used to cover for those involved in wrongdoing.
“The allegations are so plentiful … that there are private individuals who exercise undue influence over state appointments and procurement should be a matter of great concern to our movement,” he said, using SACP’s Chris Hani as an Example, saying he was a unifier and had no scandals.
“We should all try to be Chris Hanis and look at yourself and say do you fit that bill or not and you leave it to the individual. They themselves must be able to reach that conclusion.”
He said the change was coming at the ANC’s elective conference in December and that the conference would be the best time to harness the party.
He also said the infighting, vote-buying, and patronage continued to plague the ability of the ANC to achieve its goal of creating a better life for all South Africans as the issue of “money bags” in the ANC has also been raised by former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
Though he did not categorically state his acceptance to be nominated for ANC president, he unofficially opened his campaign bringing hope to over a thousand members of the alliance who believe he’s the best candidate for the ANC presidency.
“uZuma asimfuni, sifunuCyril [We don’t want Zuma, we want Cyril],” they shouted and sang at the top of their voices, as Ramaphosa joined them in dancing.
Ramaphosa’s attack on the President and his family friends, the Guptas comes at the time the seating President faces countless attacks from members of his own party, asking him to quietly resign.
Mass protests and calls for Zuma to step down, including from the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Cosatu, has led to agitation in the society that is increasingly difficult for the ANC to ignore.
Many who applaud Cyril’s attack on Zuma have asked him to set his political pace right by officially launching his campaign, but his chief lobbyists reportedly said the deputy President is unable to do so because he was managing a delicate situation.
“People have been asking him, saying ‘comrade, you are too quiet and the others are busy campaigning. Cyril, unlike Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, is the SA deputy president of the ANC and a member of the ANC’s top six, so he faces a moral and ethical dilemma,” he said, on condition of anonymity.
“If he goes open and is seen as campaigning, people will question his discipline. I’m sure the same applies to other NEC (national executive committee) members.
“He understands this dilemma, but he is aware that any campaigning at this stage could be seen as divisive and undermining party policies,” he added.
Another source close to the SA deputy President said as much he needs to come out of his shell, he needs to be smart enough not to look so desperate and stoop to Dlamini Zuma’s level, who is going about making controversial statements and is surrounded by dodgy people in government.
But with his official announcement to fight it out with Zuma in the party’s 54th conference, analyst believe it’s a good move towards achieving his aim of taking over from Zuma and his planned successor, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Analysts say had Ramaphosa waited, not only would Dlamini-Zuma and her supporters continued to exploit the lack of competition, it would have demoralized his backers and perpetuated the belief that Zuma is invincible
Ramaphosa however, commended Chris Hani’s character in a speech that sang praises to the fallen struggle hero.
Chris Hani is still loved, whether they like it or not. He is still loved,” said Ramaphosa.
“He had the best ideas; he did not have rotten ideas.” SA Deputy President added.