ANC Ramaphosa

ANC members / Image via Twitter: Engineer Matšhela Koko

Watch: Local leaders lash out at ‘Cyril’ as ANC factional battles intensify

That fateful evening at Nasrec in December 2017 could soon come back to bite Cyril Ramaphosa, as his anti-corruption measures have ruffled a few feathers in the party

ANC Ramaphosa

ANC members / Image via Twitter: Engineer Matšhela Koko

It was only a matter of time before certain members of the African National Congress (ANC) would lash out after the party’s leader Cyril Ramaphosa announced he would be cracking the whip on corruption, particularly in the wake of dodgy COVID-19-related tenders.

In what one can only think of as a hit back to Ramaphosa, a man who is said to be one of Deputy President David Mabuza’s main allies, Ngrayi Ngwenya, is seemingly unhappy with growing calls for party members to undergo lifestyle audits as a way to combat the corruption allegations that have haunted the ANC.

Watch: ‘Why must we not take business?’ – Ngwenya

In a video shared by former Eskom executive Matshela Koko, Ngwenya questioned why ANC members should not be allowed to do business – by extension, business with government. Koko said Ramaphosa and his faction needed to be worried, in light of Ngwenya’s remarks.

“Why now, ANC people must not take business, why?”, he can be heard asking in the beginning of the video.

While it is not precisely clear in what context he is referring to ‘business’, the ANC’s secretary-general Ace Magashule recently claimed there was absolutely nothing wrong with politicians, including members of the ruling party, doing work with government. If it is in respect to the latter that Ngwenya made the comment, then Ramaphosa has one major problem in his hands.

Zuma faction takes aim at Ramaphosa and friends

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in the North West’s decision to suspends two members – James Gadinabokao and Bisto Sekonyela, appears to have sparked further tensions within the organisation with Gadinabokao sticking to his guns and maintaining he is being targeted.

Sanco is part of the tripartite alliance in the province.

Gadinabokao said he was being targeted for supporting the Matlosana Mayor Maetu Kgaile, who has faced a number of bids to have her removed from office.

Both Sekonyela and Gadinabokao were suspended pending investigations into their conduct, including allegations of corruption. However Gadinabokao, a fierce supporter of Kgaile said he was not going down without a fight.

In a video seen on social media, Gadinabokao can be heard saying all mayors who were elected in 2016 would be allowed to finish their terms.

“The Matlosana mayor is going to stay. There is no one here who is going to remove Maetu, (she) is going to finish her term”, said on leader.

In the same video, he can be heard calling on the ANC IPC coordinator, Hlomani Chauke to go back to his place of origin, which is Giyani in Limpopo. It was those remarks which Gadinabokao said sparked tensions with Seaketso.

The ANC in the North West was the first to support NDZ ahead of the elective conference, while the Limpopo branch threw its weight behind Ramaphosa.

ANC factionalism

Factionalism within the ANC appears to be rearing its ugly head again within the ruling party and it seems Ramaphosa’s failure or ability to tackle the extent of rot, could determine his fate. It is no secret that both Magashule and Mabuza were part of the Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma ticket during the ANC elective conference and despite the assurance that the party remains united and has done away with factionalism, recent events suggest otherwise.

There’s also the uncertainty surrounding Deputy President David Mabuza’s lack of action in the midst of a pandemic – some political pundits have questioned whether he was leaving Ramaphosa out to dry, as merely part of a bigger plan to get rid of him.

Political Economist Ismail Lagardien once theorised in a piece on Daily Maverick that Ramaphosa along with his posse (Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan for instance) could be tossed aside with one of the sole purposes being to quash all the corruption-related inquiries that have been spearheaded by the CR17 clan.

“Now imagine the following hypothetical, but not entirely impossible, scenario. The radical economic transformation (RET) faction in the ANC holds secret talks with leaders of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). They’re old comrades, and on the surface seem to share ideological solidarities and a mutual fear of deeper investigations into their murky pasts. They strike a bargain. Get rid of Ramaphosa and the constitutionalists, and stop all investigations and commissions into State Capture and corruption. They will meet again further down the road, but for now, they rely on their ace in the hole”, Lagardien said.