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William Gumede Looks at the Twists and Turns of a Possible Ramaphosa Presidency

Restless NationWilliam Gumede, author of Restless Nation, has written an article for Pambazuka News in which he lays down some points about what he calls the “scandal-prone, poor public service delivery and autopilot presidency” of Zacob Zuma. He believes that Cyril Ramaphosa’s association with Zuma’s presidency will also tarnish Ramaphosa’s image and not bring him favour with ordinary voters.

Gumede compares the situation to the Mandela years and how Thabo Mbeki successfully controlled government. He does not see the same thing happening with Ramaphosa in the Zuma camp.

In the ANC, the reality is that the position of president is all-powerful, with the deputy serving at his behest, no matter the rhetoric of “collective” leadership by party hacks. For one ANC presidential leadership battles are a no-holds-barred fights, because the winner can bestow dizzying patronage to loyalists – from government tenders to heads of state-owned companies and official commissions, can deny rivals and critics jobs in government and the private sector, or can simply use all-powerful state security agencies to sideline them.

For another, the current ANC leadership collective is loaded with Zuma allies – some who will be very suspicious of Ramaphosa. There is a real danger that Ramaphosa’s voice will be drowned out by those of the pro-Zuma leadership majority.

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