Ramaphosa's delicate dance, plus 5 highlights from 'Vrye Weekblad'
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There will always be those who call President Cyril Ramaphosa's impossible choices the manifestation of the battle between two factions in the ANC. But the political landscape is far more complicated than that.
The idea that there are only two factions in the ANC is based on the illusion that the public spectacle playing out in Luthuli House is a matter of good vs evil, Zuma loyalists vs the Ramaphosa faction, or the corrupt vs those who want clean governance.
If that was the case, Ramaphosa would simply have to tackle his opponents head-on. The ANC that Ramaphosa has to manage, is a far more complex beast, though. Even if Ace Magashule and the Guptas' friends are prosecuted, it won't make Ramaphosa's life easier.
The ANC does not consist of two factions but is a complexly woven mix of unsteady alliances between power, violence and patronage.
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When Ramaphosa is considering his options, Ace Magashule is thus not the main predator he has to consider. Despite Magashule's opportunistic plundering of provincial budgets, there is no indication that he is a factor in rural power politics like David Mabuza is. He is rather the puppet who keeps the tills open for the cadres who need to keep the money rolling into Luthuli House. But the fact that the ANC headquarters has been struggling to pay salaries says a lot about his success as SG.
The hysterical voices calling for Ramaphosa to grow a backbone are ironic. If he had shown “backbone” while he was deputy president we would have had Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or even David Mabuza as president. If he showed backbone now and took the fight to the provincial executive committees of the ANC NEC or parts of his cabinet, chances are that he would not survive a leadership challenge in two years. And if he is dragged under by power politics, it won't be because of factions.
Read the full article in this week's Vrye Weekblad
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