Cyril Ramaphosa’s political rivals within the ANC are trying to ensure that David Mabuza is not returned as the president’s number two, according to a report in City Press.
Citing unnamed sources within the party, City Press says that work is underway to make sure that, once the electoral list process is concluded at the end of December, that Mabuza is prevented from returning to his post deputy president. Some of the names mentioned that could replace him are ANC party chairperson Gwede Mantashe and international relations minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
The sources say that while Ramaphosa could effectively thwart these efforts by using his prerogative to make Mabuza deputy president, such a move would humiliate him and weaken him politically, possibly setting up a move to recall him as president after the next general election.
The report comes after the Sunday Times revealed last week that plans are afoot within the ANC to unseat Ramaphosa as president.
The paper said that top officials in the ANC, including party secretary general Ace Magashule, were holding secret meetings plotting with former president Jacob Zuma to remove Ramaphosa. Zuma, Magashule, ousted North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, ANC Women’s League secretary Matuba Meokgo and ANC Youth League (ANCYL) KwaZulu-Natal leader Thanduxolo Sabelo reportedly met at the Maharani Hotel in Durban.
Magashule has admitted that a meeting with Zuma took place but has also denied it had anything to do with removing Ramaphosa from the presidency.
The Sunday Times today reports that Magashule is expected to face questions this week about the meetings, due to the fact that one party leader – who spoke to the paper on condition of anonymity – said that the meeting was to update Zuma on the ‘fight back’ against Ramaphosa.
“We are not happy with [the] factional conduct by the other side, which is relentlessly pursuing our forces,” the source is quoted as saying.