As the ANC presidential race heats up, people are also trying to figure out who might end up taking the top job, and who President Jacob Zuma’s preferred candidate is.
EFF leader Julius Malema said at his party’s press conference in Braamfontein on Tuesday that even though Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa had a chance at the top job, he needed to stop taking advice from secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and instead collaborate with Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza.
Contrary to popular belief, ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize was not a decoy, but a genuine candidate of Mabuza, who is backing him, as Mabuza himself wants to be deputy, said the EFF leader.
Malema claimed Mabuza did not want Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, but would not be in Ramaphosa’s ticket either, as Mantashe and the Mpumalanga premier apparently did not get along.
Malema thought, however, Mkhize and Mabuza were too ambitious for thinking he could be president. He questioned his qualities as an aspiring leader and his close relationship with Jacob Zuma.
But UDM leader Bantu Holomisa thinks Mkhize’s close relationship with the president is exactly what will get him the top job, claiming that, contrary to popular belief, Mkhize was the real “Zuma candidate”.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is just a decoy, said Holomisa in an interview with Gareth Cliff on Tuesday.
Holomisa said the president had low-key been preparing Mkhize for the top job, even introducing him to heads of government.
“I’ve been to a number of functions, and those people have always been together, and I asked myself that, all right, why is this one [Mkhize] here? It’s a state function.
“Why the president would tell the programme director to introduce this one [Mkhize]. I also noticed that when he visits abroad, Mkhize will always be next to the president and being introduced to the heads of government. Why would you not travel with other people? It cannot always be for fundraising because it’s a government trip and you can’t say ‘bring your party treasurer’,” he said.
Mkhize was also respected by chiefs in KwaZulu-Natal, he added.
While Malema said the president was backing his ex-wife for the top job, Holomisa said it was not the case.
“That was Bathabile Dlamini’s call, and Zuma said: ‘I don’t have a problem with a woman taking over.’ It could have been another woman, but I know that his blue-eyed boy is Zweli. Watch the space!” Holomisa said.
The UDM leader, however, thinks no candidate will save the ANC.