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Since assuming control of South Africa, ANC leaders who followed Nelson Mandela have a record of rapidly dispensing of those perceived as threats. Early in his first term, President Thabo Mbeki banished lively future contenders Tokyo Sexwale and Mathews Phosa by accusing them of an outrageous plot to overthrow him – and later actually fired his Deputy Jacob Zuma. For his part, Zuma’s treatment of deputy Cyril “Gopher” Ramaphosa has spiked the billionaire trade unionist’s succession chances. So a widely whispered dark horse in the succession stakes, ANC Treasurer and Top Six member Zweli Mkhize, has wisely kept a low profile. To now see him in the limelight over the very public matter of the reconstituted South African Airways directorate, sends a signal about the way ANC winds are blowing. Mkhize is highly rated but seems to be backing the wrong horse. The new SAA board is a politically engineered compromise – although he was convinced to bring in new blood, Zuma refuses to ditch the cause of the mess, his Foundation and SAA’s chair Duduzile Myeni. And while some appointees seem credible, none have requisite experience in the complex airline sector. For now, though, that’s a side issue. Zweli Mkhize, a would-be-Presidential candidate, has finally put his head above the parapet. There is no coincidence this comes at a time when the ANC’s leadership vacuum and internal divisions have become increasingly obvious. – Alec Hogg
By Lameez Omarjee
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.