As the cold war between the current ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and his former boss Jacob Zuma reaches a crescendo level, it appears that the former is gaining traction and amassing support where it matters most, in Zuma’s backyard. This became evident on Thursday when the two leaders figuratively locked horns in KwaZulu Natal. While Zuma was meeting with estranged ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule in Nkandla, President Ramaphosa was addressing a campaign rally at Ward 6 in eThekwini.
Magashule, who is on a 30-day grace period that he requested from the ANC NEC to consult with the party leaders, had gone to Nkandla to meet with and seek advice from the former president, Zuma. Magashule was received by a band of Zuma supporters in military fatigues who have become a common sight around the former statesman’s home.
In addition, there was another embattled ANC member, Tony Yengeni who has had his day in courts and the ANC disciplinary process. Apart from these, not many party members could be seen in Nkandla with these leaders. Magashule is expected to consult with former president Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlante and then make his decision on whether to step aside or stay on to face the disciplinary machinery of the ANC. This follows a resolution that was passed by the party’s decision-making body, the NEC, that leaders of the party who had been convicted of corruption must step aside or face the chop.
However, the story was different about 200km away in eThekwini where Cyril Ramaphosa was addressing the rally ahead of the by-election in Ward 6. Ramaphosa seemed a very happy and comfortable man as he addressed the rally while flanked by KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala and other provincial leaders of KZN, which for a long time has been dubbed a no-go area for those opposed to Zuma. Ramaphosa pleaded with the ANC supporters to turn out in their numbers to vote for their candidate, adding that the ANC would win the by-election in the coming weeks and would also go on to win the council elections in October.