KZN heavyweight Mchunu backs Ramaphosa

Former KwaZulu-Natal premier and provincial heavyweight Senzo Mchunu has thrown his support behind deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa as the candidate to succeed Jacob Zuma as ANC president in 2017.

Mchunu’s endorsement for Ramaphosa comes just a few days after the deputy president made his intentions clear that he was ready to enter the contest for the top ANC position.

To the delight of his supporters who were unsure whether he was interested in succeeding Zuma, Ramaphosa this week used the Nelson Mandela Memorial Dialogue to call on ANC leaders to rid themselves of deviant tendencies and put the needs of the people before their own.

In what many interpreted as an indirect attack on Zuma, Ramaphosa delivered a scathing criticism of the ANC and leaders who continued to display arrogant tendencies, even after the ANC lost key areas in this year’s local government elections.

In an interview with the Mail & Guardian on Wednesday Mchunu, who was forced to step down as premier by a competing faction early this year, said his support for Ramaphosa was based on the principle that has guided leadership succession in the ANC over many years.

Mchunu pointed to the legacy of ANC deputy presidents succeeding the president, starting with Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

He said ANC members supported Zuma to succeed Mbeki as leader of the ANC as a matter of principle.

“This happened even after what you would say was not a desirable development, where there were allegations of rape [against Zuma], which was enough to taint him.”

Mchunu, who still enjoys significant support across KwaZulu-Natal, said he did not understand why the tradition that saw Zuma take over the ANC’s top position no longer applies when it comes to Ramaphosa.

“The question is: What has changed? What informs whatever change? When we have divisions in the ANC, like we have now, we should not try to hide those divisions by avoiding what we’ve been doing in the past. By saying he [Ramaphosa] shouldn’t [succeed Zuma], we’re merely reflecting what we are about today, which is divisions,” said Mchunu.

The Zuma faction in the ANC want outgoing African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him.

Mchunu said his support for Ramaphosa should not be misinterpreted as opposition to women becoming ANC president.

“It’s not a question of a woman and nobody is saying no to that, as long as you are following principle. If you want somebody who has served at the highest level, there are many people [in the ANC].

“Kgalema [Motlanthe] has been president and deputy president, Phumzile [Mlambo-Ngcuka] has done that, Baleka [Mbete] has done that, Cyril has done that. You just have to state facts, make your choice,” said Mchunu.

He said he did not believe the entire KwaZulu-Natal ANC would support Dlamini-Zuma.

“What I want to say to you is this – the ANC as a whole is divided, right in the middle. Right from national up to branch level and KwaZulu-Natal is no exception.

“The mouth is saying something but the body is doing something else,” he said. “And there’s no capacity to unite the mind and the body and channel them into one direction. That I can assure you.”

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Dineo Bendile
Dineo Bendile works from Johannesburg. Political reporter. BLACK. Dineo Bendile has over 2712 followers on Twitter.

Related stories


Subscribers only

ANC’s rotten apples on the chopping block

Now that the NEC has finalised its step-aside guidelines for those facing corruption charges, a swathe of officials will struggle to cling to their positions

Sisulu and Dlodlo punted to be on their way out

Because President Cyril Ramaphosa won the step-aside order in the ANC’s national executive committee, a cabinet reshuffle looms, with Sisulu and Dlodlo’s names on comrades’ lips

More top stories

More ethnically diverse bone marrow donors needed to save lives

The myth that regenerative stem cells are body parts has led to donor reluctance

Khaya Sithole: The real weapons of mass destruction

Ratings agencies and derivatives caused the housing bubble, but where does the next financial crisis lurk?

Analysts expecting another attack ‘in the next few months’ in...

The extremist insurgency in Mozambique has been an ongoing threat since 2017. SADC needs to act now, say analysts

SIU probes how master of the high court fleeces the...

While the SIU delves into dozens of allegations of fraud, corruption and misconduct against officials at the master of the high court, many families have been left destitute after the death of their loved ones.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…