- Jan 22, 2005
How seriously should we take the idea that the ANC might axe Ramaphosa shortly after the elections?
By Rebecca Davis • 12 April 2019
Two opposition parties have this week made public statements claiming that dissident factions in the ANC are planning to remove Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president and state president shortly after the May elections. The ousting of former President Thabo Mbeki is cited as precedent for this move. But a palace coup of this kind would require the kind of agile manoeuvres that may be beyond even Ramaphosa’s bitterest enemies.
What’s this we hear about President Cyril Ramaphosa living on borrowed time?
It’s not a new suggestion. Ramaphosa’s victory as ANC president at Nasrec in 2017 was clinched by less than 200 votes out of the roughly 5,000 cast by delegates, which was always an indication that his command of the party reins might be more tenuous than his supporters would hope. It’s worth remembering, too, that Ramaphosa’s win was achieved largely as a result of now-Deputy President David Mabuza’s powerful Mpumalanga constituency casting their lot with Ramaphosa at the 11th hour — leaving Mabuza as the natural successor to Ramaphosa in the event of a dethroning.
This week, both the Congress of the People (Cope) and the EFF made public statements to the effect that parts of the ANC are intending to have Ramaphosa removed from his position once the dust from the May elections settles. Cope stated:
“Congress of the People is reliably informed that the Zuma/Magashule faction is planning to call a special National General Council immediately after the elections to remove Ramaphosa as the ANC president and as State President; and that after removing Ramaphosa, they will then deal with the Zondo Commission which is a very serious threat to the corrupt faction, the same way they have dealt with the Scorpions.”
EFF leader Julius Malema, meanwhile, told journalists on Wednesday that Ramaphosa would not finish his term of office.
“They are working the branches now. The (ANC) conference will take place in June 2020 and he won’t come back, I can tell you now,” Malema said.