Home Opinion Five Reasons Why the ANC is Already Out of Power under Ramaphosa

Five Reasons Why the ANC is Already Out of Power under Ramaphosa

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The African National Congress (ANC) has suffered a significant decline in the past three general elections (2009, 2014, and 2019), dropping from 69.7% to 57.5%.

Although it is still a dominant party by a huge percentage, doomsayers and polls alike predict that it would drop further to below 50% in 2024 due to load shedding, poor service delivery and rampant corruption to name but a few.

In fact, the ANC is already out of state power under Cyril Ramaphosa on no less than five reasons. First, Ramaphosa does not implement its key policies, thereby greatly loosening its grip on state power.

At its 54th National Conference, where his dominant faction had lost an ideological battle on key policies, for example, the ANC resolved to use expropriation without compensation (EWC) among the mechanisms to address a land issue. In this regard, it had held a Land Summit to iron out practicalities of putting the resolution into effect.

“We are all at one in agreeing in saying yes,” said Ramaphosa, addressing the Land Summit, “the land will be expropriated without compensation.” By December 2022, that is, when the ANC held its subsequent national conference, however, his administration had not expropriated a single piece of land without compensation.


Second, Ramaphosa is a chief custodian of the ANC policies, but he has failed to defend many of them, if not all, most notably a cadre deployment policy (CDP) against a Democratic Alliance (DA)-led widespread criticism, ridiculed as a key enabler of corruption and state capture.

Along with Gwede Mantashe, an ANC national chairperson who serves as minister of mineral resources and energy, he even failed to defend the CDP before a commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption, fraud, and state capture, generally known as the state capture commission, within the context of centrifugal intra-ANC factionalism, which thrives on neo- patrimonialism. Consequently, chaired by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the commission concluded that it is unlawful.

To arrive at such conclusion, the chairperson should have looked at two other main neo-patrimonial facets along with corruption, namely centralised power and clientelism. Corruption manifested under Nelson Mandela in a new South Africa, gained momentum under Thabo Mbeki, and spiralled out of control under Jacob Zuma and Ramaphosa.

Centralised power and clientelism, on the other hand, manifested under Mbeki and Zuma respectively. Through his generous dispersal of spoils of state patronage, chief among which office and tender payoffs, the latter had become a big man.


In his thesis entitled ‘Leadership and the ANC,’ Chad Klippenstein paints a picture of what occurs when the big man reigns supreme. “The public sector,” he says, “becomes controlled by private interests as bureaucrats and politicians do not hold their jobs for public service so much as use their positions to attain wealth and status.”

Raising the ante on its anti-CDP campaign, the DA has approached a High Court to affirm the commission’s misguided finding. With a judgement having been reserved in this regard, it shall be known in due course on whether Ramaphosa, who chaired an ANC deployment committee as ANC deputy president, has successfully defended it or not.
Meanwhile, a High Court has ordered the ANC to hand over minutes of its deployment committee meetings since 2013 to the DA.


The CDP is an indispensable instrument that the ANC should use to not only implement its policies and positions, but also hold key public servants to account for poor performance at a party level.

Third, defending himself against an accusation that he had centralised power in a piece entitled ‘Yet Another Myth,’ Mbeki spelled out that, in constituting his cabinet and appointing both premiers and mayors, he compiled a list and then discussed it with his fellow national office-bearers to decide on whom to appoint and in which positions.


To inform his fellow comrades about their proposed appointments, Mbeki says he sat with Kgalema Motlanthe, as a secretary-general, to send a message home that they were ANC deployees in government. The same, he further spells out, occurred with his cabinet reshuffles.



It appears that he did the same with appointments of key public servants. “Kgalema … and I have decided that you should go to the NPA and be the NDPP,” Vusimuzi ‘Vusi’ Pikoli reveals in My Second Initiation, a memoir he co- authored with a renowned South African author and journalist, Mandy Wiener, recounting Mbeki’s non-negotiable offer.

In contrast, Ramaphosa had set up an advisory panel to shortlist, interview and recommend suitable candidates to fill an NDPP vacancy. The panel advised him to appoint Shamila Batohi and he, of course, heeded its advice.

As Batohi is not its deployee, the ANC cannot directly hold her to account at the party level on the NPA’s low prosecutorial rate. Nor can it hold an outgoing Eskom chief executive officer (CEO), Andre de Ruyter, to account on the load shedding because he is neither its deployee as well.

Directly, along with the opposition party, the ANC only holds them to account at a parliamentary level during their appearances before the standing committee on public accounts (SCOPA) and other portfolio committees. It is no wonder that some among its members have been venting their palpable frustration on the Eskom CEO and his fellow executives as well as board members, with Mantashe accusing them of “agitating for the overthrow of the state” through the load shedding.


Fourth, with South Africa having become a fully-fledged neo-patrimonial country under Zuma, Ramaphosa conflates the party with the state. He turns ANC events into state of the nation addresses (SONAs), thereby drowning out the ANC’s vote-maximising voice.

Fifth, Ramaphosa and his fellow comrades lacks a cognitive capacity to address the country’s complex challenges, one of the centrifugal effects of intra-party factionalism. With Jeffrey ‘Jeff’ Radebe as a head of its policy, the ANC has taken a few vote-maximising policy resolutions, but they required state-funded commissions of inquiry and/or panels of experts to advise the government on their implementation.
In some instances, the commissions and/or panels take a long time to conclude their investigations. This gives credence to a notion that ‘the ANC has best policies, but the problem lies with their implementation.’

A governing party should have an internal capacity, such as a policy and research unit (PRU), to come up with well-researched policies and plans to implement them and mechanisms to monitor and evaluates their implementation thereof. Through the PRU, for example, the ANC should have produced the National Development Plan (NDP) as its overarching policy document, not the government.


Currently, the ANC has no comprehensive plan to resolve the country’s problems.

Molifi Tshabalala is a political writer

Molifi Tshabalala is a political writer



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