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Mbete’s decision to back Ramaphosa was calculated - analysts

Mbete had earlier thrown her name in the hat to run for the party’s top spot but now says she would be willing to work with Ramaphosa's administration.

ANC presidential hopeful Baleka Mbete. Picture: Radio 702

JOHANNESBURG - Some analysts say Baleka Mbete's endorsing of Cyril Ramaphosa for the position of African National Congress (ANC) president is evidence of strained relations between herself and President Jacob Zuma.

The outgoing ANC national chairperson publicly endorsed Ramaphosa on Saturday night, saying that she believed he was the only candidate who could help the party win the 2019 elections.

Mbete had earlier thrown her name in the hat to run for the party’s top spot but now says she would be willing to work with Ramaphosa's administration.

University of Johannesburg politics professor Mcebisi Ndletyana says: “Part of the reason perhaps why Mbete wouldn’t have endorsed Dlamini Zuma is that she had been Zuma’s preferred candidate for the presidency a lot earlier.

“And most people believe that president Zuma had even promised her that he will support her. So there was a point of grievance on her part.”

Analyst Mzoxolo Mpolase says Mbete made this move in an attempt to secure a high-ranking position in the party.

“It’s for her own survival moving forward that she puts her hand up in terms of being the presidential candidate and at the same time knowing that her campaign was almost zero.

“Now what she has done is that she’s putting herself up in terms of being high up on the list if the Cyril camp does emerge.”

WATCH: #ANC54: Why Baleka Mbete is endorsing Cyril Ramaphosa