Debate from ROAPE Volume 35 Number 115
ANC Change in Leadership: What Really Won it for Zuma?
The outcome of the ANC Polokwane conference, in December 2007, has produced two big non-stories. The first is how the rifts in the three-way alliance among the ANC, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the trade union federation Cosatu have evaporated. Instead, the big rift is that the leadership of the ANC is, in effect, in opposition to the country's president. The second is how Jacob Zuma won the presidency of the ANC. Zuma's emergence as the sole contender to Thabo Mbeki is a fact now so firmly accomplished that his ascendancy seems to require no further explanation, beyond asserting that he was swept to power by a many-headed revolt precipitated by Mbeki's arrogance in defence of unpopular policies.