Financial research group Nomura has given its predictions for who the most likely candidate will be to take over from Jacob Zuma as president of the ANC, and country.
As it stands, Nomura sees two camps within the ANC – the pro-Zuma camp, and the reformers. The group estimates that Zuma supporters make up 60% of the National Executive, and thus have control, but there is enough resistance that there is a stalemate.
All the current turmoil in the country, with finance minister Pravin Gordhan and state-owned companies, is all about a long play for the ANC’s elective conference in 2017, in a battle for control of the party and the country, the group said.
Nomura does not expect an early elective conference to take place, namely because neither faction within the ANC seems to have met the conditions that would encourage it.
The group says that an early elective conference will only happen only if:
  1. A faction thinks it can win, and
  2. That faction can gain the support of five ANC provincial structures (out of nine), for it to occur under the ANC constitution.
“We currently think neither condition is met for either side. The length of time to arrange an elective conference and for branches to nominate attendees etc means it seems unlikely it would occur in Q1 2017 at the earliest,” the group said.
Who is next in line?
At the conclusion of the elective conference, Nomura believes a president will emerge from the pro-Zuma camp, with the most likely candidate being Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Another possiblity is Baleka Mbete. All officials in the ANC top 6 – excluding deputy secretary general Jesse Duarte – are seen as likely candidates.
These are the predicted candidates, in order of likelihood:
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – Chairperson of the African Union
Baleka Mbete – Speaker for the National Assembly
Baleka Mbete
Zweli Mkhize – Treasurer General of the ANC
Zweli Mkhize
Cyril Ramaphosa – Deputy President of South Africa
cyril ramaphosa
Gwede Mantashe – Secretary General of the ANC
Gwede Mantashe
According to Nomura, Mkhize would be seen as a “compromise candidate” that could balance the factions. The group said it would “give (him) some benefit of the doubt to on limited reforms”.
Whoever takes over from Zuma, the group sees him leaving the presidency as a market positive, though warns against overestimating the potential for reform.
“Our baseline has been that Zuma would stand down after a 2017 elective conference, maybe in Q1 2018 if his faction wins, to allow them a clean run through to win the 2019 elections.”
“We could shift Zumxit earlier for an early elective conference. However we still believe Zuma would attempt to stay on for his full term till May 2019 if his faction loses an early elective conference – opening up the risk of a messy recall,” the group said.