SOME might have dismissed ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule’s statements in January when, at a rally in Kwazulu-Natal, he made statements seen as a veiled attack on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ascendancy to the party’s helm: “Stay focused, it is just a matter of five years. It’s a matter of five years. Conference happens after five years. Mayibuye i-ANC esiyaziyo. It’s a matter of five years comrades. So let’s work hard.”
At the time, Magashule was lambasted for being divisive and having been on Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s (NDZ) slate during the ANC presidential race, he was seen to be suggesting that the ANC faithful needed to wait for the 5-year ANC election process to get themselves a new party leader.
While the ANC has constantly preached unity and have called on party members to rally behind the leadership of Ramaphosa that was elected in Nasrec in December, on the ground divisions remain along CR, now called Thuma Mina in line with his election and presidential campaign, and the NDZ faction which, in those regions where election of regional representatives are underway, is now called Phinda – a reference made to the re-election of the old guard – which had supported her during the December conference.
Not long after Ramaphosa was sworn into office, videos were going viral on social media networks depicting gatherings calling for his demise. In one video, there’s a call to do everything possible to bring-down Cyril.
In a message being shared on WhatsApp groups, from what is seemingly the NDZ faction of the ANC Ekurhuleni region, the author urges members to keep on dividing the Thuma Mina group: “Remember this battle is beyond this region. We have the support and the crucial office at national office, the SGO…..
“We must win all the branches….” Two names are mentioned and it is said they will give information on the campaign which will be embarked upon in support of former President Jacob Zuma when he appears in court this week.
“Let’s make sure that the NDZ soldiers remain united in all our branches. Once we win this region, our strategy of removing this ‘Thuma Mina’ through the special NGC will be easy to implement. Comrades in KZN, Free State, E.Cape are working hard. Let’s soldier on, victory is certain.”
The problem is that these social media messages could easily come from either faction – one trying to smear the other. It therefore begs the question – should these social media messages be taken seriously?
Social media aside, what is definitely clear is that ANC members are not heeding the call for unity. The animosity is as palpable now as it was in the months leading upto the national conference. The problem perhaps, apart from NDZ faction’s rejection of Ramaphosa, largely due to his links with capitalists including moves to privatise state-owned-entities, is that the ANC found itself in battles for positions at regional level, this immediately following the national conference. By the time the national conference is held, the zonal and regional conferences should have taken place, allowing members to debrief from their battles for national conference and to move in unison behind the elected national leadership. This has not been the case.
The other reality is that the plot to remove Ramaphosa, many insiders say, started way before he was even elected in December. Some say as far back as the day Zuma invited him back into party politics and he (Ramaphosa) agreed. That’s the nature of politics, isn’t it? There’s always a knife out ready to stab someone in the back.
Politically Blunt is a new column for those who wish to write anonymously. We look forward to hearing from you if you’re one of them.