While the ANC’s electoral battle has not been officially opened within the ruling party’s structures, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is already pushing Cyril Ramaphosa into second place in the race to become president of the ANC in December, according to various analysts.
Their views on the current political developments in the country formed the basis of a survey titled Political Views in a post-downgrade, post-Gordhan SA, commissioned by financial services group RMB.
One panelist estimated that Dlamini Zuma’s likelihood of replacing her former husband was as high as 70%, while not one of them gave Ramaphosa more than a 35% chance of being the new Number 1 in Luthuli House.
The third candidate in what looks like a two-horse race, the pundits, including Prince Mashele, Steven Grootes, Anthony Butler and Ralph Mathekga, is ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize.
On President Zuma being removed from office this year, only Butler said his chances stood at 50% while Grootes believed that they were at 45%.
Butler was firm in his belief that President Zuma would be pushed out of office before 2019. He rated this possibility at 70%, while Friedman weighed it at 60% against the 50% of Grootes.
On the possibilities of the ANC losing the 2019 general election, the four, who rated as high Dlamini Zuma’s presidential prospect in December, agreed that the odds were higher than 50%, while Butler said they were as low as 30%.
Mashele said there was a 55% probability that the ANC would interfere with the South African Reserve Bank, while other panelists gave it ratings that went down from 40% to 10%.
On a radical shift to the left in policy, the panelists said they expected a shift in policy, though not a radical one.
Prof Theuns Eloff of the FW de Klerk Foundation said that the battle to succeed Jacob Zuma was a long term one. He said there would not be a problem if Dlamini Zuma won in December and if Ramaphosa won there would be two centres of power.
In the case of Ramaphosa being the new person in charge of the ANC, Eloff thought he would first consolidate his power in the ANC and appoint an interim president, before taking over the presidency.
“The media believes that because Dlamini Zuma is visible she’ll win. I don’t believe so. It would be a mistake to write off Ramaphosa. He has a team campaigning for him. It’s a matter of timing,” Eloff said.
The ANC Women’s League said the survey portrayed the ANC as a dying organisation that would not win the 2019 elections and was “expected to split should the preferred candidate of RMB not be elected as the ANC President in December 2017”.
“It is prudent for RMB to note that the nominations and elections of ANC leadership is done by ANC members and it’s upon them to rally behind the all democratically elected leadership of the organisation”.
The Women’s League said despite the current challenges the ANC faced, it wanted to indicate “to the compilers of the alleged RMB report that the ANC remains the only hope for the ANCWL supporters, members and the general public who are on daily basis faced with ‘untransformed’ financial sectors where some banks, such as FNB, charge different loan interests to different racial groups. It is only the ANC government through established institutions like the Competition Commission that can deal with banks which are involved in the manipulation of the SA currency”.