JOHANNESBURG – In a sensational turn of events, it seems like President Zuma has already abandoned his preferred successor and ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Party sources who spoke to The Citizen say that the Cyril Ramaphosa camp are already preparing for a head-to-head showdown with Zweli Mkhize rather than NDZ at the party’s December elective conference.
Dlamini-Zuma campaign falters
Dlamini-Zuma has had all the traction and momentum sucked from her campaign in the last couple of weeks. She’s been portrayed as a clone of her former husband, and it’s alleged she offers ‘nothing different’ to the leadership role.
Step forward Zweli Mkhize. The ANC Treasurer-General has been winning over fawning supporters with his message of ‘unity’. He wants to get everyone in the ANC back on the same side, and his centrist, moderate brand of politics is appealing to party branches.
Momentum swings Zweli Mkhize’s way
The source said Mkhize was being prepared to take over from Zuma with his approval. and an announcement would be made at the last minute. All other pro-Zuma candidates would then withdraw from the race.
In fact, it is unclear just how this strategy could affect Mkhize’s campaign. His entire appeal is that he is the ‘clean slate’ alternative. Getting JZ’s endorsement is tantamount to being given the kiss of death. The informant who spoke to The Citizenbelieves Mr Mkhize has become a pawn in Zuma’s game of chess:
“NDZ was not JZ’s prime choice for the position although he would have liked it that way, but he well knows she has no chance against Cyril.”
“He is not even campaigning for her because Zweli [Mkhize] is their compromise ticket. That is Zuma’s strategy. The redeployment of Mkhize from KwaZulu-Natal was deliberate. It was planned that he should succeed Zuma.”
The ANC top brass are almost acting like predators. They have sniffed out a weakness in Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and pounced.
Though no official ‘switch of endorsement’ is planned for the near future, it is believed Zuma is biding his time. He will leave it as late as possible to announce his support for Mkhize. He’ll be hoping to capitalise on Mkhize’s momentum.