Ramaphosa may struggle without significant NEC support - analysts

The position of ANC president is a powerful one, but Ramaphosa now heads a top leadership that’s split down the middle in terms of vision and principle.

New ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa after the announcement of the ANC's new top 6 on 18 December 2017. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - New African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa will be hoping for as many of his supporters as possible to be among the 80 additional members elected to the party’s national executive committee (NEC).

Analysts say that without significant support in the NEC, the ANC’s most powerful decision-making body between conferences, Ramaphosa might struggle to stamp his authority on the party.

The top six leadership elections saw Ramaphosa come out on top as president, but powerful and controversial provincial party bosses Mpumalanga’s David Mabuza and the Free State’s Ace Magashule in the positions of deputy president and secretary-general respectively, while Jessie Duarte, who was re-elected deputy secretary-general, was also part of that slate.

The position of ANC president is a powerful one, but Ramaphosa now heads a top leadership that’s split down the middle in terms of vision and principle.

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Political analyst Richard Calland: “What Ramaphosa now has to pray for, I think, is that he gets a decent slate victory in the additional members, otherwise the political constraints within the top six will be accentuated.”

Analyst Ebrahim Fakir says if Ramaphosa cannot rely fully on the backing of the top six, majority support in the NEC becomes crucial.

“Cyril Ramaphosa’s ability to wield any kind of authority is going to depend on the balance that is struck in the NEC and whether he can get sufficient support that will help him stamp not just a vision but instrumentalise that vision.”

The names of the 80 additional members of the NEC are expected to be announced on Tuesday.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)