South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that it was “undeniable” that the ruling African National Congress is going through a period of greater turbulence and uncertainty than at any other time since 1994, the year Nelson Mandela came to power.Speaking at the Chris Hani Memorial Lecture in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape Province‚ Ramaphosa said there was a strong sense among the people that the ANC no longer represented their hope.
“And unless problems in the ANC are resolved soon electoral support for it would continue to decline,” the deputy president warned.
He added that recent political developments had thrown into focus the divisions within the ANC and brought to the fore a lot of broader grievances about the direction of the country.
“The manner and the form in which the Cabinet was reshuffled a few weeks ago heightened those tensions within the movement,” Ramaphosa, who had called Zuma’s decision to change Cabinet unacceptable, said.
“Whether we want to dismiss it or not‚ the reality is, that (Cabinet reshuffle) triggered the heightening of those tensions‚ causing some comrades to engage in bitter exchanges in public statements and on social media‚” he added.
At the gathering, South African Communist Party’s Eastern Cape Provincial Secretary Xolile Nqatha did not mince his words either, when he reiterated the call for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
He said it was one thing to say that the power of the ANC had shifted because as it stood it had “completely left. Power has gone. And it’s in Saxonwold,” Nqatha said.
This was in apparent reference to the posh Johannesburg neighbourhood hosting the Gupta Brothers’ home where Zuma is a regular visitor as a close family friend of the India-born business tycoons who have made their fortunes in this country dealing with state-owned companies like
Eskom and SABC, the state broadcaster.