It's complicated: 4 ways the ANC elective conference could play out

S’thembiso Msomi, deputy editor of the Sunday Times, shares some predictions

13 December 2017 - 11:43 By S'THEMBISO MSOMI
Cyril Ramaphosa.
Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: Richard Becker


Cyril Ramaphosa wins and is elected ANC president.

In January Ramaphosa calls Jacob Zuma and tells him to resign.

Ramaphosa decides if he should become president of South Africa or appoint a caretaker for two years until the 2019 general election.

Zuma is recalled and does not even deliver the state of the nation address.

A new Cabinet is appointed. A commission into state capture is appointed.

Zuma and the Guptas are investigated. The National Prosecuting Authority has a free hand. Zuma spends the next two years in and out of court, along with his allies.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Image: Richard Becker


Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma wins. First prize for Zuma.

Ramaphosa is fired as deputy president. Dlamini-Zuma is appointed deputy president for the rest of Zuma’s term.

Huge cabinet reshuffle. All ministers who opposed Zuma are cleared out.

Commission of inquiry does not focus on the Guptas, but its terms are expanded to include pre-’94 capture of the state by white monopoly capital.

There is another breakaway from the ANC. A new political party is formed, like COPE and EFF. The 2019 elections are much more interesting. We could end up with a coalition government that may or may not include the ANC.

Zweli Mkhize and Lindiwe Sisulu.
Zweli Mkhize and Lindiwe Sisulu.
Image: Richard Becker


A third candidate wins: Zweli Mkhize or Lindiwe Sisulu.

The enquiry into state capture is still instituted, but it may look for a political solution to the Zuma question.

Zuma is not charged.

The new ANC president will not go after Zuma, but will insist that he steps down as president of the country to avoid the party losing the 2019 elections.

Jacob Zuma.
Jacob Zuma.
Image: Richard Becker


Zuma calls off the conference.

He says there is just too much conflict within the party to be able to hold a successful conference.

The postponement buys Zuma another year at the helm of the ANC, and almost guarantees that he’ll see out his term in 2019. 

This scenario may lead to the party splitting and a new political force competing for power in 2019.

This article was  originally published in The Edit Man S/S17, a stand-alone Sunday Times lifestyle magazine sent out to select subscribers. Read it online now.