11/05/2017 12:31 SAST | Updated 11/05/2017 12:31 SAST

What The Experts Think Of Cyril Ramaphosa's Moves So Far To Become Next ANC President

"The power dynamics are still in favour of Zuma.”

South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Rogan Ward / Reuters
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ahead of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's parliamentary question and answer session later on Thursday, we asked political analysts what they think of his campaign so far to become the ANC's next president.

Politics professor at the University of South Africa, Dirk Kotze, said Ramaphosa's crusade for the presidency has started slowly as he has to adhere to the ANC's prescription that campaigning may only begin when the party says so.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, like Ramaphosa, has only tried to circumvent this.

Read: 3 Things You Should Know About Presidential Hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

"After Jacob Zuma's cabinet reshuffle, kicking off his campaign would have become unavoidable for Ramaphosa. He had to start then," Kotze said. "The key to his campaign will be the support from the provinces and this is where his focus will be. Of the provinces, the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal will be key areas for Ramaphosa's campaign and his success will depend on the support of at least two of these three provinces."

But Kotze thinks KZN will be a difficult area for Ramaphosa.

"This province is the home of both Jacob Zuma and Dlamini-Zuma so their support in the region will be great. But, the province has also become divided," Kotze said.

"We have seen recent support for Ramaphosa from the likes of COSATU, the SACP, the Gauteng region of the ANC and individuals like Pravin Gordhan. But one must look at the current dynamics in the ANC. The power dynamics are still in favour of Zuma."

UKZN political analyst Dr. Lubna Nadvi said the public is currently "very cynical" over Ramaphosa's attempts to correct his former mistakes.

"He recently attempted to try and make amends for his behavior in the past, especially after the accusations surrounding Marikana... But I think he believes he has something to offer in terms of leadership. It also depends on what the ranks of the ANC think of his ability to lead," Nadvi said.

"An obvious challenge will be the issues of factionalism in the ANC. Civil society is asking questions of both Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, sparking robust debate and subjecting them both to intense criticism which is great for our democracy.

"We need to see who else will enter the race. The pool one has to choose from now is limited. Ramaphosa's success will depend on how effectively he can rally the support of the people and the ranks of the ANC."

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said Ramaphosa has become a "bit more forthright" in the last two weeks, aggressively campaigning and making it clear he is an option for president.

"He needs to keep campaigning on the ground, at least in the eyes of the branch members. This psychologically changes the dynamics of the campaign. But it will take deals and forging alliances to make it happen," Mathekga said.

"It is too early to say who stands with who, but I think those talks are beginning to shape up."