Talks of a Jacob Zuma exit from the ANC, and subsequently the presidency, have gripped the country in fervour of happy thoughts and positive reinforcement. Yet, news coming from the Zuma camp has placed a rather large dampener on any premature celebrations being organised.
Reports express that ANC NEC Conference election runner-up, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (NDZ) may stand a chance of becoming interim president should Zuma’s detractors succeed in ousting him.
According to sources, these talks have arisen as part of the negotiations between the presidency and the recently elected, Cyril Ramaphosa-led, ANC NEC.
In recent weeks, newspapers have reported on Ramaphosa’s plans to oust Zuma early on in his tenure as ANC president to facilitate the party’s chance at re-election in 2019.
However, the possibility of an NDZ presidency offers the ruling party an interesting compromise. On the one hand, a NDZ presidential term – albeit a temporary one – would cure the ANC of its issues with internal division, but ultimately set them back in terms of public approval ratings heading into 2019. Conversely, rejecting the terms would further divide the party, yet create a better chance at re-election next year.
Additionally, Some of Zuma’s supporters are negotiating the president’s exit by requesting that they stay on in their current posts. This includes many of the ministers appointed by Zuma in his last cabinet reshuffle.
Minister David Mahlobo was moved to the Energy portfolio in October followed by his announcement that he would make sure the nuclear energy plan goes ahead.
Another strategic Zuma appointment is that of State Security Minister Bongani Bongo.
He faces corruption charges after allegations that he tried to bribe the evidence leader in Parliament's state capture inquiry.
The ANC's Zizi Kodwa confirmed to the that Zuma and Ramaphosa are in talks about how to ensure Luthuli House remains a centre of power without undermining the president of the country, but the content of those discussions have not been divulged.