The race for who is going to succeed Jacob Zuma as president of South Africa is now officially on, whether he survives the 2017 ANC elective conference or not.
8. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – Chairperson of the African Union.
Zuma’s successor should be a woman, the ANC Woman’s League declared at its national conference. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is clearly the woman the league has in mind.
There is little doubt that Dlamini-Zuma is her ex-husband’s choice to succeed him. This could give her a major advantage.
The impression I got from the Women’s League conference was that there was a bit of a love affair with Zuma going on.
Dlamini-Zuma has another advantage: she is Zulu-speaking. Again, I don’t like references to politicians’ ethnicity, but in this case it really is relevant.
Here’s the stark reality. In the general election of 1994 the ANC received 31.6% of the vote in Kwazulu-Natal. This increased to 65.3% in 2014 and today it is the single strongest block of support for the party. In all the other regions the ANC’s support had dwindled.
It’s no secret that there is a strong feeling among many Zulu-speakers in the ANC that the party should be led by another Zulu-speaker. The last Zulu-speaking ANC president before Zuma was Albert Luthuli, who died in office in 1967.
It’s a pity that Dlamini-Zuma’s previous marriage and her mother tongue are the two characteristics mentioned as reasons why she is a good presidential candidate.
She is a formidable politician in her own right. Where she’s perhaps short on charisma, she makes up with a strong intellect, a talent for strategic thinking and a famous work ethic.
Dlamini-Zuma, 66, qualified as a medical doctor in Britain. She has four children with Zuma. They divorced in 1998. She made many mistakes as minister of Health in Nelson Mandela’s Cabinet, but fared a lot better as minister of Foreign Affairs and really made her mark at Home Affairs after that. She became the African Union commission chairperson in 2012.
7. Cyril Ramaphosa – Deputy President of South Africa.
Ramaphosa’s opponents will make a mistake if they underestimate him. Several mine bosses did that when he was still a trade union leader, and came to regret it. The National Party government underestimated him during the post-1990 negotiations and learnt its lesson.
Ramaphosa towers head and shoulders above other members of Cabinet and indeed the ANC’s senior leadership. Put differently: he looks like the most presidential leader in the party.
“He is arguably the most well defined and well-known potential candidate as he was heavily involved in the formation of the new South Africa during the 1990-1994 negotiations,” New World Wealth said.
Ramaphosa has extensive experience as a lawyer, business leader, politician and trade union leader. He has previously served as ANC secretary general and NUM secretary general (and founder).
It is well known that he was Nelson Mandela’s pick as future president, the survey’s publishers said.
6. Mmusi Maimane.
Mmusi Aloysias Maimane was born 6 June 1980. He is a South African politician and the leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) political party since 10 May 2015.
He is also the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly of South Africa since 29 May 2014. He is the former leader of the DA in the Johannesburg City Council and the former DA National Spokesperson. His rise to national attention began in 2011, when he was elected to be the DA’s Johannesburg mayoral candidate in the 2011 municipal elections.
He has served as Leader of the Official Opposition on the Johannesburg City Council until May 2014. In addition to his political career, he is also a pastor and elder of the deeply conservative Liberty Church.
The leader of the official opposition may be set to go head to head with ANC in the run-up to the 2019 general elections. His experience in politics, being a leader of DA, being a man of God makes South Africans love him. These might tempt SA to vote him into office if he choses to run for presidency.
5. Julius Malema.
Julius Malema is the current leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
He founded EFF in July 2013. He previously served as President of the African National Congress Youth League from 2008 to 2012. Malema was a member of the ANC until his expulsion from the party in April 2012. He occupies a notably controversial position in South African public and political life, having risen to prominence. He has been described by both Zuma and the Premier of Limpopo Province as the “future leader” of South Africa.
Malema is arguably the second most popular person in SA behind president Zuma.
Malema and his allies poss a great treat to anyone intending to run for presidency come 2019.
EFF is currently the third-largest party in both houses of the South African parliament, receiving 1,169,259 votes and a 6.35% share of the vote in the 2014 general election. Malema is believed to be brave, outspoken, fearless and ambitious. Those make him a great potential president if he choses to run.
4. Baleka Mbete.
Baleka Mbete is the current Chairperson of the ANC and speaker of the house. She previously served as deputy president of SA (although only for a short time) and secretary general of the ANC’s woman’s league.
In her favor, there is strong pressure for a female candidate, particularly from the woman’s league. It is difficult to say if she will run for SA President.
If Dlamini-Zuma does not contest, she has the full backing of the women’s league and that’s a great advantage.
3. Gwede Mantashe.
Gwede Mantashe is the current secretary general of the ANC. He is widely tipped to be the next leader especially if Ramaphosa decides not to run.
He is a former chairperson of the South African Communist Party (SACP) He is also the former secretary general of NUM.
Born in 1955 in Cala in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Mantashe made history by becoming the first trade unionist to be appointed to the board of Directors of a JSE Limited-listed company, namely Samancor, in 1995.
He served for two years as Chairperson of the Technical Working Group of the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa).
He is currently a member of the Politburo of the South African Communist Party.
Mantashe being the Secretary General to the county’s ruling party means he could lobby for the support of 249 seats ANC has in the National Assembly and that is a big advantage.
2. Pravin Gordhan.
Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan born 12 April 1949 in Durban is a South African politician and current Minister of Finance, a position he had previously held from 2009-2014. He is also the former Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, serving from 2014–2015.
He was previously the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service from 1999 to 2009. From 1991 and 1994, he chaired the Convention for a Democratic South Africa.
As a member of parliament from 1994 to 1998, Gordhan chaired the parliamentary committee that focused on the implementation of the new Constitution and the transformation of local government in the post-apartheid.
Gordhan was chairman of the World Customs Organization in from 2000 to 2006.
The conflict between the Hawks, the presidency, the SARS, the treasury and the Guptas has given minister Gordhan much needed publicity and advantage that will make him a big candidate if he decides to run for presidency come 2019.
He is one of the few who openly challenged Pres. Zuma and came out untouched.
1. Thuli Madonsela.
Many will argue that she is not even a politician. But the release of the State Capture report has made the former Public Protector a prominent figure in SA. If she decides to contest come 2019, she is a great threat to anyone running.
Thulisile Nomkhosi Madonsela is a South African advocate and served as the Public Protector of South Africa from 19 October 2009 to 14 October 2016.
Many South Africans now see her as someone they can trust after the release of the state capture result. Her bravery and honesty is a big advantage.