Analysis: Ramaphosa presents a brave face ahead of elections

President Cyril Ramaphosa seems unfazed by the threats from rival parties and the internal rifts brought about by former president Jacob Zuma’s endorsement of the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) Party.

Speaking on Tuesday following the ANC’s lekgotla and national executive committee (NEC) meetings at the weekend, Ramaphosa acknowledged the challenges but emphasised the party’s determination to overcome them.

“We know that there are social and political forces working very hard to undermine our vision of our Freedom Charter and to reverse the gains of the freedom our people won in 1994,” he said.

“We must know the strategies of our opponents so that we can be able to defeat them.”

Splinter groups

He outlined the tactics employed by the opposition, which included funding splinter organisations and minor parties to run against the ANC and attempting to unite anti-transformation forces through alliances or pacts.

These breakaway movements, stated Ramaphosa, often start as factions within the ANC but evolve into opposition parties.

“The shared goal of these forces is to deprive the ANC of the ability to use state powers to effect the change that will transform our people’s lives,” he said.

Even though the president gave off an air of confidence and fearlessness, his speech demands that his election readiness be assessed.

It implied that his primary motivation may be a desire to outperform the opposition rather than the practical requirements for the ANC’s campaign.

Is Ramaphosa ready for another term?

Is the “ANC of Ramaphosa” merely a spectator to the destiny of the country, or does it actually hold the power to shape it?

Threats of support erosion present the ANC, which has ruled for almost 30 years, with a serious challenge to its dominance as South Africa gets ready for general elections.

The ANC has been accused of not meeting many of its commitments over the years, especially with regard to providing services and enhancing the quality of life for all citizens.

Due to this discontent, a number of smaller parties have emerged and are currently attempting to weaken the ANC’s support.

The new competitors with an emphasis on transformation, equality, job creation, and giving voice to marginalised communities, especially the youth, include figures like former DA leader Mmusi Maimane, former Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi, Songezo Zibi’s Rise Mzansi, and Mpho Dagada’s Arise SA.

The Zuma factor

Nonetheless, Zuma poses the most contentious challenge to the ANC’s hegemony from within its own ranks.

Despite being in “good standing” as an ANC member, Zuma recently announced his endorsement of the recently established MK Party.

Zuma is clear about one thing: he does not like the sixth administration, even though Ramaphosa is in charge of it at the moment.

The ANC declared on Monday that Zuma had been “summarily suspended”.

This decision was made after lengthy discussions that took place over the weekend at the party’s NEC and lekgotla meetings, which ended on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa said: “The ANC remains the party of choice, and the alliance will campaign for a clear majority; all the alliance components will campaign.”

He promised to reveal the election date at an appropriate time.

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