- The ANC has a long-standing tradition that the top spot should go uncontested, omitting the need for campaign funding
- President Cyril Ramaphosa has broken this tradition, but analyst Zamikhaya Maseti says he was not the first
- Former president Jacob Zuma changed the way the ANC chose its leader back in 2007, opening a loophole for the president to raise capital for his campaign
President Cyril Ramaphosa has breached an old ANC tradition that money and outside influences should not be allowed to play a role in appointing leaders.
However, he was not the first ANC leader to break this tradition, according to political analyst Zamikhaya Maseti.
Former president Jacob Zuma broke the mould that the candidate for ANC presidency should not go contested back in 2007.
Zuma had thwarted tradition when he stood against fellow ex-president Thabo Mbeki. This created a loophole, explains Maseti, but money had yet to become an issue.
Briefly.co.za reported that Ramaphosa had received widespread backlash after it was revealed that nearly R1 billion had been raised to help him contest the top spot in the ruling party.
In response to this, Maseti claims that the president had not needed financial backing to win the race against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma:
“Ramaphosa and his campaign managers misread the mood of South Africans, hence he opted for donations. I blame their political strategy, they lacked foresight. People were gatvol of Zuma and called for him to fall."
The analyst says that the millions raised have now brought a new set of problems, with questions over what donors expected in return:
“With millions donated to him, you need to ask, which class does Ramaphosa represent – the masses or business? For sure business. There is no such thing as free lunch, someone donates millions because he wants something in return.”
Maseti explains that a tradition of the top spot going uncontested aimed to prevent power struggles and keep the ANC united.
With the dawn of democracy, the landscape within the party has changed and brought new challenges with it, reports The Citizen.
The analyst says that Ramaphosa could not be blamed for seizing the opportunity, but ultimately the funds will never reach the party itself:
“This money does not go to the ANC party coffers but it goes to one slate. You can’t blame Ramaphosa for having stage-managed the leadership and getting more donations than others. The real problem is the Americanisation of the ANC internal processes. Now one slate of the party has millions that the party does not have in its coffers."
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