THE BLOG
30/01/2018 12:48 SAST | Updated 30/01/2018 12:48 SAST

Dlamini-Zuma Played A Cool Hand Throughout Elective Conference

Virtue and character, as ideas, are at the heart of human progress and human prosperity.

Rajesh Jantilal/ AFP/ Getty Images
Former AU commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

COMMENT

That virtue and character, as ideas, are at the heart of human progress and human prosperity I have never been in doubt. Why men and women of honour and character are in short supply to drive our much-troubled nation-building efforts has never been clearer to me than with the ANC elective conference.

At the end of the elective conference, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa emerged as the duly elected ANC president.

Those who insisted that he should be president by virtue of him being deputy president had their fun. Why not? The ANC culture that they constructed out of the blue – that touted that a deputy president automatically becomes president – was achieved.

There was nothing wrong; it was robust sound political strategy and scheming that appealed to the delegates, and it worked. Having a superior political strategy is what gets you ahead in politics. But beyond the elective conference, we should cool down and assess the dealings that were at play behind closed doors.

On one hand, we had the courts (for the first time in the history of the ANC) being brought into the political power games on the eve of the elective conference.

Bringing the courts in did one thing and one thing only: squeeze Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. A huge chunk of the delegates who could have voted for her were locked out of voting – and overall, her campaign was tainted and dispirited.

The Ramaphosa-Mabuza manoeuvres, power lust and power plays trampled on issues of values and character – and won.

I insist that the best way was to have the elective conference postponed a week, in order to remedy the situation of those branches that had issues.

But secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who was in charge of running the conference, said it must continue (Mantashe openly supported and fully campaigned for Ramaphosa).

There were at least 95 delegates in North West and 25 in KwaZulu-Natal who ultimately never voted, and these are Dlamini-Zuma strongholds.

On the other hand, there is the issue of a deal between Ramaphosa and DD Mabuza, the Mpumalanga ANC provincial chair, that we are told about. What was the nature of this deal? Was big money involved? What made DD Mabuza, a natural supporter of Dlamini-Zuma, do such a dark somersault?

It is far-fetched to assume Mabuza would do this without a hefty inducement on the table. I am not denying that can be possible – after all, in politics anything is possible.

Whatever. But the real practical thing, in the end, was that the Ramaphosa-Mabuza deal deceived Dlamini-Zuma, fooling her into believing Mpumalanga was behind her, then showing their real colours when Mpumalanga vote for Ramaphosa.

I was under the impression that the ANC conference was supposed to be about the comrades. Why play such underhanded tricks on your fellow comrade? Where are principles of comradeship, sound values and character? The Ramaphosa-Mabuza manoeuvres, power lust and power plays trampled on issues of values and character – and won.

It is out of sheer character and high morality that Dr Dlamini-Zuma – affectionately called NDZ, a woman of sound vision for South Africa – took all these calmly and allowed bygones to be bygones. Cool-hand NDZ.

Chris Kanyane is the founder of research thinktank BestAfricans.com. He specialised in political strategy in his MBA degree.