Durban - ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the allegations of him being a serial womaniser were meant to stop him from contesting the party leadership.
However, he said he would not be deterred, adding that it is the ANC branches and not the front pages of newspapers that will determine the leadership of the ANC.
“These targeted attacks are aimed at the leadership contest that is now under way to deter other people from contesting for leadership, and we must be able to say this must stop... in my case I am saying it is not going to stop me,” he said addressing an ANC event on the West Rand on Sunday .
He said he had been warned that in the coming months the “attacks are going to become even more vicious”.
Ramaphosa said state resources were being used to launch a dirty tricks campaign against him. He said the ANC should act against this and against factionalism in its ranks.
“When the ANC acts, it must act with determination and we must stop this thing of having the ANC turning on itself where member turns against member, leader turns against leader in order to destroy other leaders... that we should stop,” he told cheering supporters.
He said he would take responsibility where he had made mistakes.
One of Ramaphosa’s chief backers, former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu, said “the (Ramaphosa) campaign will definitely go ahead, yes it will go on”.
Former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who is also a frontrunner in the ANC presidential contest, on Sunday declined to comment on the Ramaphosa issue.
However, Mchunu, who has been travelling the country campaigning for Ramaphosa, said the ANC deputy president was not the only ANC leader living with allegations of impropriety.
“There are lots of questions hanging on all candidates. In all of us in the ANC there are many questions, which are far bigger than (Ramaphosa).”
Meanwhile Bathabile Dlamini, the ANC Women’s League president, dismissed allegations by Cosatu that she was behind the leaking of Ramaphosa’s emails.
Her spokesperson, Lumka Oliphant, said: “She cannot even open her own emails. How can she open such big emails? She does not want to be caught in these things”
Political analysts predicted that the current allegations would be followed by many and more damaging revelations.
Bheki Mngomezulu said by turning to court in an attempt to block The Sunday Independent from publishing the embarrassing story, Ramaphosa “does not seem to portray himself as the strong person like the current president (Jacob Zuma)”.
He said whether or not Ramaphosa would be able to see off the allegations would depend on the strength or weakness of his campaigning team. “The only problem is that there is not enough time between now and December to do damage control. If they are to act they have to act quickly.”
University of KwaZulu-Natal political analyst Lukhona Mnguni said Ramaphosa could survive the reputational hit “if next weekend there is no bigger story”.
“The most difficult thing is that we do not know the people who have access to his private email, what else they have, or when they plan to use it.
“While he is most likely to survive this one, if this is a curtain-raiser for more damaging stuff definitely he has lots to think about,” said Mnguni.
He said the allegations facing Ramaphosa could be the start of the “unravelling of the myth that Cyril Ramaphosa is a better alternative to the current president”.