Good News hit the Tabloids over the weekend: The Tripartite Alliance out of ANC, SACP (the Communist Party) and COSATU (Unions) that currently steers South Africa on its unsustainable course towards oblivion, is showing further fractures on its way to dissolution. After COSATU already rejected Dlamini-Zuma as presidential successor in favour of Ramaphosa, now the South African Communist party – for the first time – expressed their intentions to walk future ways outside the alliance.
The party has taken the decision to contest future elections on its own rather than merely having dual-membership with the ANC. While it has not yet (!) ended its participation in the Tripartite Alliance, this is a fresh sign of the internal fracturing that is underway. With COSATU also supporting Deputy President Ramaphosa, it seems as long as the Zuma faction retains control of the party the Alliance will be alive in name only. This may presage a slew of defectors who vote against Zuma in the upcoming no-confidence motion, but even with them and all the opposition MPs in a secret ballot, he would still likely survive it easily.
On the leadership contest front, note that Lindiwe Sisulu, the controversial and unable current Minister for Human Settlements, has formally entered the race after receiving the backing of some ANC branches. She will be running for the daunting task of restoring the part’s dignity. Note that the circus will see its end not soon enough as there have also been rumours that defiant and constantly unconstitutionally acting ANC National Chairwoman Baleka Mbete will also be joining the race. More female contenders could be a factor that threatens the front-runner Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma with a more split support base, but at this point, the situation remains very opaque.
As we noted recently, the leadership contest will not be settled via campaigning but by the vagaries and opacities of the ANC’s internal processes and factional divisions. Even Deputy President Ramaphosa, arguably the front-running anti-Zuma candidate, specifically lacks the support of nearly all the provincial ANC branches at this time. Unless he can corral a significant base of support from them in the next few months his chances of ousting the Zuma faction are much slimmer than many may perceive in spite of how embattled Zuma and his goons have become.
Less than five months to go for the 54th National Conference of the ANC (16 – 20 December 2017), where Zuma is to be expected to step down in exchange for clemency granted by the new incoming President. He can only expect this from his nepotistic challengers Dlamini-Zuma, Sisulu and Mbete, while Ramaphosa made it clear that he gladly serves as the nail into Zuma’s prison coffin. Another reason – unfortunately – why he might not become acting president for the time until National Elections will be held in May 2019.
Keep on crossing those thumbs, nothing is decided yet!