ANC presidential front-runner Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is being met with a level of dissatisfaction from within the party, so much so that her bid for the country’s top office may be jeopardy.
In a recent note to investors following the ANC national policy conference this week, research analyst at Nomura, Peter Attard Montalto, provided an update on how things look in South Africa’s political sphere.
The analyst noted that very little happened in the way of actual policy – which was never really the point of the conference to begin with – but some surprising things emerged surrounding the mood among factions within the party.
One of these was that levels of dissatisfaction with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as a leader – said to be president Jacob Zuma’s favoured candidate to succeed him as party leader – appears to be greater now.
“We have always been cautious to state that we saw a ‘60% chance of the Zuma faction winning in December,” the analyst said. Dlamini-Zuma still currently holds the spot at the front-runner of this faction, but there are now doubts that she will remain there.
“It remains unclear who will be a viable alternative. Baleka Mbete still seems to be ‘en manoeuvres’, and Mpumalanga ANC chairman David Mabuza, as well. But both are still not sufficiently widely accepted,” Attard Montalto said.
“As such, in this NPC-to-elective-conference period, we need to watch for the Zuma faction possibly switching markedly to another leader and see who it can bring together – especially how the backing of the leagues can shift as an early warning signal,” he said.
Risk of no elective conference at all
According to Attard Montalto, another big risk to markets and South Africa as a whole is if the elective conference does not happen at all.
“We believe there is an increasing likelihood that the December elective conference does not happen if the Zuma faction is not confident that it will win,” he said.
“While this has swirled around as a tail risk in recent months, over the last weekend it seems to have solidified into a still low risk but possible outcome.”
This would be highly disruptive to the internal battle within the ANC and will add an additional legal dimension to matters, he said.
However, on the flip side, the risk of violence around the conference is also being talked about increasingly – a risk which has been raised in the past.