Ramaphosa to decide ANC's fate
THE future of the ANC is in businessman Cyril Ramaphosa's hands - and a great deal hinges on whether he will accept nomination as deputy president of the party.
After several bruising branch meetings and with just a few days left before the ANC holds its elective conference in Mangaung later this week, Ramaphosa was nominated as President Jacob Zuma's running mate by five provinces.
Three provinces have nominated Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to take over the leadership of the party - but Motlanthe has yet to officially announce his candidacy.
Ramaphosa could spoil the party in Mangaung if he does not accept the nomination.
A senior ANC member and businessman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said this weekend that the fate of the ANC is in Ramaphosa's hands and his decision will profoundly affect the future for the ANC.
Any decision he takes will usher in a new road for the party.
"Whatever decision Cyril arrives at, there will be a profound impact on the ANC."
Other party members close to the leadership race said the unexpected could be expected at Mangaung .
"What I know is that when Cyril stands and tells everyone that he is not contesting, then members will be forced to think about the party and why we don't need slates."
Those who are pushing for Ramaphosa to replace Motlanthe yesterday brushed aside any suggestion that Ramaphosa would not accept the nomination.
But they could not name alternative candidates should he choose to step away.
"Cyril is a disciplined ANC member and he will agree to and abide by the decision of the conference," said one Zuma campaigner in the Free State.
"He cannot, like others, think outside what the party wants from him.
"So the talk that he will decline the post is just a pipe dream."
Though the position of the ANC deputy president hangs in the balance, all the final preparations are being put in place for the Mangaung conference.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has called on his partners in the ANC-led tripartite alliance not to discard Motlanthe from the party's leadership, saying that doing so would put the ANC on a dangerous course.
Vavi is not alone in this sentiment. ANC members across the country have discussed on social media the consequences of an ANC without Motlanthe.
But, whatever happens in Mangaung, the party and the nation it leads will never be the same again.