Internal politics within the ANC will outweigh the politics that determines policy, perception and delivery ahead of the ANC elective conference in December 2017, says market and financial consulting firm, Nomura.
It said that while president Zuma personally may well be weakened by the results of the local government elections, from a factional point, he is no weaker now than before. Nomura noted that Zuma is head of a so-called tenderpreneur faction within the ANC.
“One should be cautious not to overplay the weakening of Jacob Zuma personally if he still has the NEC’s backing.
“In particular, just because president Zuma is weaker it does not mean the opposition within the ANC – which has been trying to remove him since Nene-gate – is any stronger in either policy or political terms. Ultimately the power plays within the ANC are about raw numbers, patronage and alliances,” Nomura said.
“Here, we think Mr Zuma’s faction still has the upper hand and the fact that it still holds the areas of largest support provincially, together with the positive (small) swing to the ANC in KZN, will ensure Jacob Zuma still has a blocking majority, against an early elective conference for instance, and gains power from these grouping,” it said.
The analysts at Nomura said that an ANC NEC meeting at the end of this week, followed by a larger one at the end of September, will determine just how powerful Zuma’s faction remains.
“So too will any push against the Gauteng provincial ANC leadership, which is likely to get blamed for some of the worst showings for the ANC nationally despite it largely being not their fault (in JNB certainly) where local governance and service delivery has been better,” Nomura said.
It further noted that the position and power of Zuma loyalist parastatal management will be important as a signal of strength – in SAA and Eskom especially, but also the SABC.
“Overall, we think no one within the ANC wants to recall a second president from the Union Buildings after their experience with President Mbeki in 2008. However, we still think there is a blocking majority of provinces against calling an early elective
conference, Nomura said.
It said that the powers of patronage will be important for president Zuma’s side to keep him in place until January 2018 when he can then exit (Zumxit) from the stage to allow his successor to campaign into the 2019 national elections with a clean slate.
“We think the internal narrative will reflect on Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma being a fresh start and a narrative will be built up around her of competence and leadership,even if the actual evidence is more mixed.”
The financial firm warned that simply removing Jacob Zuma is not a panacea. “The problems of the ANC run much deeper, and policy contradictions and the black vs white view of one side vs the other are too simplistic in reality,” it said.
For now, the lid is likely to be kept on the pressure cooker while President Zuma consolidates power for his faction in what will now be a more difficult fight in December 2017 and one which, as a result, will require him to stay in office,” Nomura said.
“Overall, we think these elections will lay the foundations for a more positive true multi-party contested democracy from 2019. However, in the interim the status quo is likely to be well dug in and have its last hurrah,” it said.