ANC presidency is a two-horse race

Forget Baleka Mbete, Ace Magashula and Zwele Mkhize – a new poll of 26 political analysts believes that the race to be the next president of the ANC – and likely the country – is a two-horse race.

New data released by Bloomberg has revealed that the next leader of South Africa’s ruling ANC is likely to be either Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

This is based on a survey on the views of politics professors and lecturers from 10 South African universities, country risk advisers and research-group analysts who were surveyed by Bloomberg on 13 and 14 February 2017.

According to the poll, eleven of 26 analysts believe that former AU chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has an early edge in the battle to take over the helm of the party.

In comparison, ten of the analysts believe current deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa will be the next president of the ANC. Five analysts were undecided.

“I doubt if there will be a third horse,” said Tinyiko Maluleke, a political analyst at the University of Pretoria, who added it was too soon to predict who would win.

“While ANC tradition should dictate that Ramaphosa succeeds Zuma, there is a strong move within the 105-year-old party to appoint its first woman leader,” he said.

The Bloomberg data echoes what has widely become common understanding in South Africa regarding the ANC’s presidential race.

While neither Dlamini-Zuma nor Ramaphosa have officially accepted nominations (a process the ANC is trying to snuff out until it is ready to commence open campaigning), a number of high profile groups such as Cosatu and the ANC Women’s League have been open in support of the two candidates.

Other names have been mentioned, but not with the same conviction as the aforementioned leaders.

These include ANC treasurer Zwele Mkhize (seen as a ‘compromise candidate’) and speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete, who is said to have thrown her lot in with Mpumalanga premier, David Mabuza, according to the EFF.

The EFF and its leader Julius Malema have been outspoken about the ANC’s presidential election process, saying that Mabuza may emerge as a leading candidate. Malema believes that Mabuza is in with the Gupta family and “has the money”, while both Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa are dead ducks in the race.

The DA is preparing to govern

According to insiders from both the ANC and DA, there has been a strong shift in energy in South African politics, with the ruling party stressed and uncertain about its future  – and the main opposition feeling bolder and ready to run the country.

Commentary heard from MPs by the Huffington Post SA during the recent State of the Nation debate in Parliament, indicated that the ANC was very much aware the political change was coming.

The ruling party expressed uncertainty over president Jacob Zuma’s shift for more populist views, while the presidential elections that lay ahead in 2017 were anything but clear.

The DA, meanwhile, is scrambling to educate and train its MPs in preparation to become ministers in 2019. According to murmurings in Parliament, the party expressed slight surprise when it was faced with the possibility it would be entering national government sooner than it expected.

“What we’re now doing is to look at our policies and discussing how to cost them, how to give detail to it and how to make it attractive. There is a very real possibility that we might have to implement some of these sooner than we thought,” a DA MP was quoted as saying.

Read: South Africa’s next president will not come from the ANC: Malema

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