Johannesburg - As the ANC race to replace President Jacob Zuma heats up, questions have been raised about Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s chosen running mate – Naledi Pandor.
Ramaphosa announced his preferred top six at a rally in Limpopo on Sunday taking many by surprise when he suggested Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor to be nominated as ANC deputy president.
Other names announced by Ramaphosa include former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu as secretary-general, Paul Mashatile as treasurer general, Gwede Mantashe as national chairperson.
While motivating his choice, he said Pandor was good cabinet minister who was not tainted and was also committed to ANC ideals.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the fact that some of the ANC members who were punted as Ramaphosa’s deputy, such as Lindiwe Sisulu and Zweli Mkhize, have fallen through signalled that there was a possible power struggle between them.
“What I think also came up surprising to me is that Ramaphosa was close to Mkhize with some thinking he will be his deputy. There must have been tension between the two men. And there was also the option of Lindiwe Sisulu,” said Mathegka.
Pandor had not shown any possible interest in running for the top six positions especially in situations where some had spoken out against state capture and corruption.
Also read: Ramaphosa names his 'Winning Team'
"It’s been quite a surprise, I don’t think anybody expected this. We didn’t have a hint of Pandor’s ambitions regarding this," said Mathegka.
Ramaphosa introduced his slate too late to be possible to influence branches and this could work against him, said Mathegka.
“Looking at the people he wants to bring it seems he wants to be a messiah. His team is good, but he probably knows that’s not the team you take to the party. If he had more time he would have been able to try and convince the branches about this dream,” he said.
“Announcing it now I really doubt his willingness to win, I have a feeling that it’s no longer about winning for him but about principle,” said Mathegka.
ANC branches are currently nominating their preferred candidates for the top six positions at branch general meetings. These BMGs are expected to be concluded this week.
Presidential hopefuls Ramaphosa and MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have been crisscrossing the country in a last minute bid to convince members of their suitability.