Who will succeed Zuma as SA president?

The battle for the 2017 ANC electoral conference has already begun – and will shape everything between now and then.

Nomura, a financial services group and global investment bank, says the defining ark of narrative that will define the next two and half years will be the 2017 elective conference of the ANC – most likely held in December of that year.

There is currently a lot of debate about whether the ANC is shifting left or right. “We continue to believe that both are happening at once though still within a context of tenderpreneurship, cadre deployment and vested interests.

“Basically, we believe that in the face of serious underperformance in job creation or crises in parastatals a need to balance vested interests still wins through,” the bank said in a research note.

Nomura pointed to ‘significant’ tensions within the ANC and government over Eskom. It said that the second half of 2015 would see the quiet dissolving of the war room – after it became ineffective and a talking shop – and pressure has eased off National Treasury to provide further sales of non-strategic assets in the short term after the sale of Vodacom to PIC.

The bank said that despite headlines in the first half of the year stating the ANC had warmed towards some restructuring and privatisation of parts of Eskom, it believe there is no conclusion to that debate and no majority for it within the ANC.

“We think the baseline of all future build being outside Eskom while Eskom is fixed through equity injections and increased tariffs over the medium run (ie to bumble along) remains the ANC’s operating mode on Eskom for the foreseeable future. Basically waiting out for more capacity to come online,” Nomura said.

It noted that Nkandla and xenophobic violence matters have largely died down and are not currently on the market’s radar. “However, the unpredictability of xenophobic violence and the difficult debate that is rumbling on locally around black empowerment mean it remains an ‘unknown known’ that can reappear for markets.”

cyril ramaphosa

“All the time campaigning for the 2017 elective conference is we believe occurring in the background,” Nomura said, pointing out that this is unlikely to break out into the public sphere really until closer to 2017.

“However, we continue to watch Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zweli Mkhize, Cyril Ramaphosa and Gwede Mantashe through H2. Our baseline remains that a (policy) status quo, Zulu candidate is more likely to succeed Zuma.

“Related to this we watch through H2 the role of the Gauteng ANC and its leadership who are trying increasingly interesting methods of turning round provincial and municipal institutions and structures to improve service delivery and are increasingly differentiating themselves from the ANC centrally. The backlash really of the ANC leadership and other provinces like KZN is of interest. This should play into 2017 and if it is at all possible for Ramaphosa to win,” Nomura said.

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Who will succeed Zuma as SA president?