ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) member and former uMkhonto we sizwe commander Tony Yengeni has labelled calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s term as “nonsense” he does not support.
Speaking to the Cape Times on Thursday, Yengeni said he has seen no change in Ramphosa’s five years as the party’s president.
“Any leader who seeks a second term to lead the government or the ANC should do so on the basis of having implemented a program to better the lives of our people. In the last five years that has not happened. In fact things have gotten worse. In my own experience, I have never seen the ANC this divided. Again I ask: a second term for what?”
However sources close to Ramaphosa’s second term campaign said they were not surprised, arguing that Yengeni did not support Ramaphosa in 2017 and they did not “expect anything more from him”. Yengeni has been seen as a backer of NEC member and Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said Yengeni was aware of organisational platforms to express such views.
“He is a member of the NEC and he is aware of organisational platforms that exist to express himself on such views. Like any other member of the ANC, if he is in a conference, he is welcomed to express his own democratic views on that platform. But if it is matters of the organisation, he is also encouraged to use platforms of the organisation to raise any views he may have. All of us as a collective elected at the 54th national conference, we are expected to provide leadership to the party, so there is no leader who must exonerate themselves from discharging that responsibility,” he said.
Mabe said an ANC elective conference will sit in December and it is then a determination will be made on who will be the next party leader.
Director at School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University, Professor Zwelinzima Ndevu said: “Tony Yengeni has a well documented history of disagreement in views with the President in the past few years the most recent event been in support of Lindiwe Sisulu’s view on the judicial. I’m therefore not surprised that he is not in support of the second term for the President. We should also recall that he was the one who called for the vote of no confidence in the President on the leaked audio of one of the NEC meetings. He seems to be very close to the so-called radical economic transformation (RET) people.“
Political analyst, Professor Sipho Seepe said Yengeni has been clear for some time about his “unhappiness” with how Ramaphosa has led both the ANC and the country.
“Since taking over as President of the ANC, the party is in bad shape. This is a party that has failed to advance its own conference resolution. If anything, Ramaphosa seems determined to destroy what is left of the liberation movement. In government, he has dismally failed to deliver on any of his promises. We are experiencing the highest unemployment in history. Business confidence is at its lowest. To try to make up for that, he has spent most of his presidency engaged in meaningless public relations exercises.
“The economy has not grown. Since taking over, the country has been subjected to the unending bouts of loadshedding with no reprieve in sight,“ Seepe said.
SACP Western Cape Secretary Benson Ngqentsu said the current “obsession” with either president Ramaphosa’s second term or who should contest him present a high level of “political degeneration within the body politics of our movement”.
“Our preoccupation as we debated and resolved at our 9th Provincial Congress held in March 2022 is to take keen interest in the trajectory our revolution and our country should take. We argued at that congress that our national democratic revolution is facing stagnation and regression. Such regression and stagnation of our national democratic revolution is a product of its neo-liberal orientation. Presently, neither Cyril Ramaphosa’ second term nor Tony Yengeni’ option are a panado for the challenges the ANC and our country faces,” he said.