If Cyril Ramaphosa is elected president of the ANC, it will make things difficult for opposition parties, according to United Democratic Movement (UDM) president Bantu Holomisa.
Speaking on Tuesday after the UDM’s 20th anniversary celebrations, the former ANC leader and veteran politician said he had worked with both Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma — the two candidates dominating the race to lead the organisation — and they both possessed qualities that would benefit the ruling party.
“If Cyril wins, it is going to be difficult for the opposition parties. I know him because I have worked with him.
When I was in Transkei, he was working for the ANC. He is a strong administrator.
“On the other hand, many people underestimate Nkosazana but she is a no-nonsense taker. I know her from her time as minister. She is a decisive decision-maker and, if you remember, she is the one who introduced the legislation that restricted smoking in certain areas when she was health minister,” he said.
His take on the unusually high number of candidates vying for the ANC’s top post is that it could revive the party and that it is not necessarily an indication of how fractured the organisation is.
But ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has criticised the “sick” number of candidates vying to be the party’s president, likening it to 1952 when 10 candidates scrambled to be number one.
Holomisa said, if the ANC managed to avoid a split, it could emerge from its December conference stronger that before and as a “well-oiled machine”.
He said he was slightly concerned about an ANC revival threat before the 2019 general elections. “The ANC might conjure up a few surprises and I am a little bit worried.
“What I am worried about — and other people have not seen this — but I think it is strategic that the ANC is fielding so many presidential candidates and it is a strategy that might revive the ANC. Because, if people are campaigning and lobbying in the branches, after its December conference, the ANC might return to being the machine that we know it to be. Unless there is a split … this campaign will work to the benefit of the party because, come January, the ANC will have credible branches.”
He said the ANC was correcting itself, “publicly conceding that they have made certain mistakes and this would have not happened in the past”.
“In terms of the voters, the ANC will struggle to recover the support it has lost but, in terms of the party machinery, its campaign will help them.”
Holomisa said whoever emerged victorious from the ANC’s December conference would have to ensure that the country’s racial demographics were reflected in top government positions and build a government of national unity.
“Whoever wins will have to be professional in appointing people around them. They need to have a government which reflects the racial demographics of South Africa. Everyone must feel represented and part of the South African administration. This will allow for the possibility of a government of national unity. It is possible if it is forced by voters. Only voters can make this possible.
“If you want to save South Africa, we must agree that never again must we allow one party dominance because it has proven that it breeds corruption and we do not need that,” Holomisa concluded.