Johannesburg – As voting gets under way at the 55th ANC national conference, sources close to the situation reveal that President Cyril Ramaphosa is having a tough time, as the numbers to ensure he remains ANC president are not adding up.
This was after delegates from Limpopo joined their comrades from KwaZulu-Natal in their support of Ramaphosa’s rival, Dr Zweli Mkhize.
Independent Media also reported that Gauteng is also in on the anti-Ramaphosa campaign after this province backed the president for a second term.
Free State was said to have long supported Mkhize while other provinces, such as North West are split down the middle, leaving Ramaphosa with the Free State, Northern Cape, and the Western Cape as his strongholds.
Reports also indicate that Mpumalanga will be coming through for Mkhize.
“Things are not looking good for the man. Numbers are not adding up for him as most of the branches in Limpopo, Gauteng, and the Northern Cape have suddenly turned against him. You could see that he was visibly worried last night during the nomination’s announcement. He pretended to be confident, but there were times when he could not hide the reality of the situation,” the delegates told The Star on Sunday.
Since the revelation of millions of dollars reported to have been stolen from his farm in Limpopo in June, Ramaphosa has had to find new ways of trying to escape accountability and evade possible impeachment.
He took a Section 89 report, compiled by retired former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, on review to the Constitutional Court while also trying to fight his enemies through suspensions and disqualifications. It would seem even allegations of vote-rigging have not been enough to avoid the inevitable, with the majority of the branches publicly calling for his removal as leader of the governing party.
A New York Times article titled, “A Businessman, Buffaloes, and Sofa full of Cash: a president’s alibi” published days before the conference, said the explanation given by a Sudanese businessman did not make matters easier for Ramaphosa.
During the first three days of the conference, with a cloud hanging over his head regarding the Phala Phala farm scandal, Ramaphosa has spent his time trying to show a brave face in between the many grimaces that he has tried to conceal and chants calling for him to step aside from most of the ANC branches.
The New York-based publication indicated that the Phala Phala farm scandal could threaten Ramaphosa’s second-term bid, which currently hangs in the balance after delegates from Limpopo, who had previously backed his second term, did a last-minute U-turn on Saturday, resulting in Ramaphosa’s campaign working behind the scenes to ensure his victory come voting time on Sunday.
This publication is of the view that the explanation given by the alleged Sudanese businessman identified as Mustafa, that he had flown into the country in a bid to buy a house for his wife as a surprise, but ended up buying buffalo at Ramaphosa’s farm in Bela Bela is “convoluted” and hard to believe.
“Instead, according to Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa, that cash somehow ended up stashed in a sofa in the private residence of his game farm.
“This convoluted story – and whether it is at all credible – is the subject of a scandal that has riveted South Africa and threatened to unseat Mr Ramaphosa from the presidency,” The New York Times said.
The publication laments Ramaphosa’s rise to fame as a businessman who was there to cleanse and renew the ANC. However, his track record has left much to be desired as delegates continuously reminded him of the Phala Phala farm scandal, the Marikana massacre, and the paralysis of Eskom and other SOEs, which in spite of blaming state capture, has not convinced the majority of the branches who have turned against him, calling for his head instead of a second term.
On Friday and during his five-year political report, Ramaphosa was forced to endure a difficult KwaZulu-Natal ANC delegation, which continuously heckled him while he was delivering his speech.