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How world sees SA: In tight ANC leadership race, ‘vote buying disease’ helps Dlamini-Zuma

qnEDINBURGH — Many South Africans in the business community would like Cyril Ramaphosa to win the ANC leadership contest this weekend. This is because he has amassed his personal fortune through various business ventures and is believed to understand what it will take to get the economy back onto a growth trajectory. Although political connections and gravitas have undoubtedly helped the former trade union leader and vice-president in his entrepreneurial endeavours, he is not tainted by corruption. The same cannot be said about his arch-rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The former wife of President Jacob Zuma, who has literally hundreds of allegations of corruption hanging over him, has the advantage of support from the many who are compromised within the ANC and hope she holds the ‘stay out of jail’ card. And, just in case that doesn’t sway them to vote for Dlamini-Zuma, cash is allegedly being handed out to buy support, according to allegations in the media. – Jackie Cameron

By Thulasizwe Sithole

In what is believed to be a two-horse race for ANC leadership, President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma appears to be at an advantage over vice-president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Dlamini-Zuma could win the contest, not because she is more charismatic or capable than Ramaphosa – but because she has the advantage of the many corrupt individuals within the ANC supporting her.

Former AU Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

That’s the message in the London-based Financial Times, which highlights concerns about ballot-buying in the tight battle between Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma.

Vote buying is the new disease plaguing South Africa’s ruling party, the FT quotes Ramaphosa as saying.

“People are being approached with loads of money, some of it between R50,000 to R100,000 per delegate,” the deputy president told a South African radio station. This is not a lot of money in relation to what’s at stake, analysts have noted.

The FT highlights that Fikile Mbalula, the police minister, has backed Ramaphosa’s claims. He said this week that his force had seized R2.5m intended for buying votes in just one raid.

“Some people have now realised that they don’t have delegate numbers, thus these fraudulent despicable attempts,” Jackson Mthembu, the ANC’s chief whip who backs Mr Ramaphosa, is on record in the FT as saying.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa

The global financial publication notes that vote-buying isn’t the only factor weighing against a Ramaphosa victory. Provinces with higher ANC membership get to send more delegates to the ANC conference this weekend.

This could benefit Dlamini-Zuma – mother to four of Jacob Zuma’s 20-plus children, says the FT – who derives much of her support from rural regions, including KwaZulu-Natal which has the largest number of ANC members.

Dlamini-Zuma is expected to win with a victory of as little as a few hundred votes, according to Darias Jonker of Eurasia Group, who is also quoted by the FT.

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