16/12/2017 05:33 SAST | Updated 16/12/2017 06:42 SAST

International Media: Yay Ramaphosa, Hell No To Zuma

Here's how the international media is reporting on the race to become next leader of the oldest liberation party in Africa.

ANC supporters at a rally in Clermont township south of Durban on December 9, 2017.
AFP/Getty Images
ANC supporters at a rally in Clermont township south of Durban on December 9, 2017.

All eyes are on the ANC's National Conference this weekend, including the international community.

It's needless to say then that the international media is also keen to see who the next president of the oldest liberation party in Africa will be.

A quick analysis of what various media outlets in the U.K. and the U.S. were reporting about the ANC and its presidential frontrunners in the run-up to the party's national conference on Friday was telling.

President Jacob Zuma was widely slated, with reports focusing widely on themes of state capture and corruption. The narrative around Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, though, is one which depicted him as a saviour of sorts for the economy and the ANC. Media outlets were also reporting on fears of splits within the ANC come the end of the conference.

In the Financial Times this week, an article by David Pilling ran with the headline: "How Cyril Ramaphosa can still save the ANC".

Pilling starts by referencing Ramaphosa as former president Nelson Mandela's "chosen successor" who "lost out" during the "nobler days" of the ANC.

"Those who want to salvage the soul — not to mention the electoral fortunes — of the ANC regard Mr Ramaphosa as their only hope," the FT reported.

"Not only has it [the ANC] become, under President Jacob Zuma, a party of rank corruption. Almost worse, it is woefully incompetent, lacking a coherent vision of how to transform the lives of the people it pretends to serve. Its slogan of 'radical economic transformation' has been empty rhetoric, designed to disguise the fact that many of its officials are busy feathering their own nest."

The New York Times also this week ran an opinion piece by South African-based professor Ivor Chipkin which outlines all the allegations of fraud, corruption and state capture currently facing Zuma.

In his piece, Chipkin makes reference to the Gupta family and its links with the president, the 783 counts of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering against Zuma, as well as the role of firms such as KPMG and McKinsey in the state capture narrative.

The focus is primarily on Zuma's role in the "theft of South Africa".

The UK's Daily Mail also published an article by the Associated Press on Thursday which speculated on the outcome of the presidential race and whether it would cause a split in the ANC.

The article made reference to state capture and the dwindling employment rates in the country as well as the current state of the economy.

Quoting local analysts, the article said despite party leaders' calls for unity, "divisions run so deep that either outcome could mean the end of the ANC's dominance".

"Members of the losing faction could form a new party, analysts say, taking enough votes with them in 2019 to force the ANC into a coalition for the first time," it reported.