/ 19 December 2022

It’s a Molo Molo world as Ramaphosa’s forces win the day

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Newly elected National Executive Committee members of the ANC (From L to R) Second Deputy Secretary-General Maropene Ramokgopa, First Deputy Secretary-General Nomvula Mokonyane, Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula, National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC Deputy President Paul Mashatile and Treasurer General Gwen Ramokgopa pose for a photo during the 55th National Conference of the ANC at NASREC


Voting for the top seven at the ANC’s 55th national conference at Nasrec went into extra time — like the World Cup final  between France and Argentina — with the comrades making their marks well into the night and the results being delayed until late morning.

The numbers have numbered for president Cyril Ramaphosa — despite early claims of victory by Zweli Mkhize’s twerk team — and the Buffalo, unlike the French national footie side, has secured a second term.

Right now at Nasrec, it’s a Molo Molo world, to borrow a phrase from Ramaphosa’s supporters campaign song, with the head of state and his slate taking five of the seven posts in the national officials.

The Holy Trinity — outgoing treasurer general, secretary general and deputy secretary general Paul Mashatile — made it over the line and is now the ANC’s Deputy Jesus, partially because neither  Ronald Lamola and Oscar Mabyane split the Ankole slate’s vote by both contesting the deputy president’s post.

Mashatile and Comrade Braaipack — newly elected secretary general Nomvula Mokonyane — were the only candidates from Mkhize’s slate to make the top seven, despite all the table banging, heckling and claims of easy victories from the comrades from the kingdom.

It’s a pretty decent result for team Ramaphosa — both in terms of his personal margin and the close to clean sweep in the national officials — a far stronger mandate than he received from the conference delegates in 2017.

Ankoles 5 – Ngunis 2.

Fair enough.

There is a sense that the country and the ANC — like Ramaphosa — have dodged a bullet again, just like we did in 2017, by avoiding an Mkhize presidency and by sending the KwaZulu-Natal delegation home with another proper thumping and no seats on the top seven.

Mkhize may have claimed to have been off the hook with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) over the R150 million stolen from the state’s Covid-19 funding during the Digital Vibes going into the conference, but he isn’t.

The last time the ANC elected a president from KwaZulu-Natal with legal issues — Jacob Zuma in 2007 — he set about destroying the criminal justice system, including axing the head of the SIU, before selling the country to the Guptas.

Mkhize also teamed up with Zuma in his bid to dislodge Ramaphosa and, had they succeeded, it’s pretty obvious what uBaba would have wanted in return.

As I say, we may have all dodged a bullet.

There are some lessons to be learned from the 55th ANC national conference, especially for the comrades from the kingdom.

The results of the votes for the ruling party’s top seven officials are a huge boost for the embattled Ramaphosa and his supporters, who took five of the portfolios. (AFP)

South Africa is not the kingdom.

Once one crosses the Drakensberg, the loudest voices — and ethnic chauvinism— no longer dominate the discourse.

Banging tables and wenzening may win conferences at sea level, but at altitude, they no longer work.

The Tiger still has his claws. KwaZulu-Natal believed they had the muscle to deal with Gwede Mantashe from the floor.

They didn’t.

The Tiger scored a second term as national chairperson and the Taliban went home empty handed.


It’s also 2022 and not 2007.

Times have changed and so have the players.

Cyril Ramaphosa is not Thabo Mbeki and Mondli Gungubele is not Mluleki George.

For all his apparent distance from the party machine, Ramaphosa and his allies were still able to convince delegates to stick to their branch general meeting mandates and vote accordingly.

And finally, Zuma is no longer the KwaZulu-Natal’s ANC secret weapon, but rather its greatest liability, a political albatross that will sink them — along with himself — if they don’t cut him loose.