Cyril dumps Zuma

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Ramaphosa

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Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: Antoine de Ras.

Plan were afoot last night to find a replacement for businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, who declined to become President Jacob Zuma’s ANC deputy at the eleventh hour.

The ANC national executive committee (NEC) member apparently cited respect for, and his close relationship with, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Zuma’s main challenger, forged over many years during their time as leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers.

Both he and Motlanthe, who are former NUM secretaries-general, had accepted the nomination for ANC deputy president.

The Star understands that Zuma supporters were working until late last night to decide whether national chairperson Baleka Mbete or party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe should replace Ramaphosa.

Three highly placed sources confirmed that Ramaphosa had told their lobby group he was no longer keen to be Zuma’s running mate.

One source said the businessman allegedly privately expressed concerns that the Zuma camp had failed to offer him a post-Mangaung deal that would clarify his future.

Ramaphosa allegedly also felt Zuma lobbyists were using him to marginalise Motlanthe, who they suddenly hated with a passion for challenging the ANC leader.

Whoever is elected Zuma’s deputy at the elective conference is most likely to replace Motlanthe as the country’s deputy president. That is if Motlanthe fails in his bid to depose Zuma as ANC leader in what is likely to be a bruising leadership battle.

The odds appear stacked against Motlanthe, and an electoral loss would make a bad situation worse, in that he is most likely to be recalled, as ex-president Thabo Mbeki was, added a second source.

Ramaphosa failed to respond to calls and a text message last night, while Mbete could not be reached.

ANC national spokesman Ishmael Mnisi said the party was not aware of Ramaphosa’s withdrawal or any horse-trading between rival factions.

The ANC’s electoral commission would “in due course” release information on who had accepted or declined nomination.

“Any other insinuation relating to the issues of nomination will be best handled by the authentic and official structures responsible for elections, which is the electoral commission,” said Mnisi.

The possible candidacy of Mbete and Mantashe came as the political horse-trading intensified between rival factions in an attempt to agree on an inclusive and unifying top six.

“Cyril is refusing on the basis of respect. He feels they (he and Motlanthe) are friends and have been together during difficult times, and he can’t allow this thing to complicate their relationship,” said the source, who is a Zuma lobbyist.

He added that Mbete and Free State Premier Ace Magashule had been earmarked for the post of deputy president.

“Last night they (Motlanthe supporters) went to court to interdict conference, now that they can see the numbers (which are unfavourable to them).”

A Zuma lobbyist claimed that Motlanthe supporters planned to question the credentials or raise the registration of “bogus” Limpopo delegates by Luthuli House so as to collapse the conference. A Motlanthe lobbyist dismissed the claim as nonsense.

A third source, also a Zuma lobbyist, said Mantashe was the front-runner to replace Ramaphosa.

If Mbete were to return, it would be several years after she left the same position in a huff. She threw tantrums when Motlanthe was announced as the country’s deputy president.

She cited the party’s 50-50 gender parity, which recommended that women be represented in top ANC leadership and government structures, including the presidency. - The Star

 UPDATE

Sapa reports that Independent Newspapers deputy political editor Gaye Davis has resigned following a report in The Star that businessman Cyril Ramaphosa had refused a nomination to be ANC deputy president.

“I had no hand in writing the story,” Davis said on Tuesday.

“I did, however, early on Sunday evening, get confirmation from Mr Ramaphosa that - contrary to what the article was stating - he had accepted and signed his nomination form,” she said in a statement sent to Sapa.

Davis was stepping down to “publicly disassociate” herself from The Star's article.
“Ethically, I believe I cannot publicly distance myself from the story while remaining in the employ of Independent Newspapers.”
 
Davis believes resigning is necessary to protect her credibility  as a journalist.
 
She told the writer of the article that Ramaphosa had confirmed he was still in the running, but was told The Star was standing by their story, but that other editors in the group could make their own judgements.
 
“I communicated with the other morning newspaper editors in the group, who took appropriate action and did not run the story in its  original form,” Davis said.
 
Independent Newspapers CEO Tony Howard said he only just learned  of the resignation and could not yet comment.

Davis had been group deputy political editor since October 2008.  She said she contacted Ramaphosa and personally informed him of her  decision to resign. - Sapa

 

THE STAR'S RESPONSE

 

And so it is that Cyril Ramaphosa not only accepted nomination to be ANC deputy president, he has now become one.

At the very outset, I must point out that our reporter who worked on the piece was led down an unsavoury garden path. So The Star apologises unreservedly to Ramaphosa and the ANC for creating, in our December 17th edition, a wrong impression that Ramaphosa had declined nomination to become President Jacob Zuma’s party deputy. We got it wrong.
I decided not to do a straight down-page apology in order to correct another wrong too.
Some newspapers, it seems, got a bit too excited (and forgot to call me for comment) yesterday, reporting on the resignation of Gaye Davis, Independent Newspapers’ group deputy political editor. It was reported that Davis told Ramaphosa that “she had told her bosses that she was not comfortable with the story but they insisted on it”.
For the record, this was not so. She had not, in fact, phoned, e-mailed or smsed me about her concerns. There was a misunderstanding between Davis and the author of the report which led her to believe, incorrectly, that I did not place much value on her concerns. She has since apologised to me for this incorrect assumption, which led to her resignation. 
It’s a pity that even with the best of intentions and efforts, errors will creep in and reporters will be misled. We’re all fallible. To err is human.   The point, though, is to do everything humanly possible to avoid or minimise them and to improve quality-control checks.
ut when we are misled, as might happen from time to time, we must remember that the press council code of conduct exists for such anticipated, though not hoped-for, eventualities.|– Makhudu Sefara, Editor 

 


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