ANC moves to quell succession talk

Irene, Gauteng, 18 June 2016 - ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte says the party has faith in the process followed to select election candidates.

File: ANC Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte says her children have not worked for the controversial Gupta family.

JOHANNESBURG – The ANC has called on its structures to refrain from making public pronouncements on the leadership race.

The party is reining in members following recent statements on preferred candidates to succeed President Jacob Zuma at the ANC's elective conference in December. The party leader is likely to become president in 2019 after the general elections.

The names of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zweli Mkhize, Cyril Ramaphosa and Baleka Mbete have been bandied about.

Now the governing party says it is putting a stop to the lobbying and positioning of candidates.

Jessie Duarte, the ANC's deputy secretary-general, said the national working committee had agreed that no one should continue to raise names.

"All structures of the ANC that are in the national working committee were present so we’re hoping that going forward all these name-raisings and interests would end and we’d go back to discussing what SG (ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe) described as the value propositions. So we’ll also be writing to all branches today to inform them of that particular decision."

But the ANC should be wary of believing that its branches have the final say on who will ultimately lead the country, say political analysts.

Two analysts told eNCA that after its losses in 2016 local government elections, the party could lose more support in 2019 if it chooses leaders who don’t offer voters something new.

Professor Sipho Seepe said: "Today, the challenges are different … we don’t want to have a leader who is presented to us where people say Prince is a good guy. We want to know that given the challenges that we are facing, how {is he/she] going to resolve them."

Lukhona Mnguni agrees: "People say if you say things have been rotten, you also served in creating and fermenting the rot. You have presided over the collapse and disintegration of this movement."

Cracks in the tripartite alliance will also affect the leadership debate. 

Seepe added: "There's no way that you're going to have so many contradictions that are there within the ANC. Those were held together by the fact that there was a glue. That glue is gone. What the organisation must also learn is that it must also allow certain groupings. You cannot continue to have a capitalist sitting comfortably with a communist or with a traditionalist. That was always managed well, right now it's not manageable."