A concerted move to oust Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and replace him with former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma prior to the ANC national conference in December is under way, according to an ANC source.
The action would be preceded by a radical cabinet reshuffle that could see a massive purge of anti-Zuma members within government, including certain senior SACP leaders and Ramaphosa’s supporters.
According to the source, the change would see Dlamini-Zuma, who is one of eight ANC presidential candidates, first appointed to Cabinet and then pushed to replace Ramaphosa as deputy president.
The planned Ramaphosa ouster was precipitated by a recent survey that indicated he was the most popular of all the candidates, which put the Zuma camp into a panic.
Zuma followers are pushing for the president to fire Ramaphosa on the basis that he is an “agent” of so-called white monopoly capital, a term employed by Bell Pottinger as part of the British PR firm’s largely discredited anti-white propaganda to divert attention away from the Guptas and the state capture they were accused of.
The recent revelations about Ramaphosa’s extramarital relationships would also be used as an excuse to remove him and bring Dlamini-Zuma to the fore.
The source said Dlamini-Zuma would first be sworn in as an MP, then offered a ministerial position until she was appointed as deputy president.
This is seen as Zuma’s last do-or-die action to rescue the slowing Dlamini-Zuma campaign.
“They could see Dlamini-Zuma might lose at the December conference because the CR17 (Cyril Ramaphosa’s) campaign is gaining traction in all provinces including the Free State, North West and KZN,” the source said.
The reshuffle would also target SACP members in government, such as general secretary Blade Nzimande, former deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin, Buti Manamela and others such as Godfrey Oliphant and Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba.
Yesterday, parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo confirmed that Dlamini-Zuma would soon be sworn in as an ANC MP.
It is understood that Dlamini-Zuma was out of town for an appointment and her swearing in might be delayed as parliament was also going on recess from Friday until October 3. Ramaphosa has made serious inroads in the Free State and yesterday was endorsed by the Northern Cape ANC.
ANC provincial chairperson Zamani Saul said there was a plan to block Ramaphosa from becoming ANC president and introduce a “disguised” third term for Zuma.
“So Comrade Cyril, if you want to be the president of the ANC, you must be prepared to fight for it. If you are prepared to fight this battle, which at times will be very ugly, as the Northern Cape we are combat ready to stand with you,” Saul said.
“The state apparatus is hard at work to discredit those opposed to the disguised third term. We are not going to be intimidated,” he added.