The ruling party is at risk of further splits amid a battle for senior positions in the ANC, deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said.
There is intense jostling to replace President Jacob Zuma, 74, as the head of the party and for other top positions, despite rules forbidding active campaigning, Duarte, 63, said in an interview. The concern is that the losing group could break away to form a new party, as has happened in the lead up to or after previous ANC elective conferences, she said.
The ANC’s leadership contest comes at a time when the party risks losing the majority it’s held in every vote since 1994. A split could drag its support down to below 50% in the 2019 national elections, giving an opportunity for the opposition to join forces to take power. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, 64, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, 68, are seen by analysts as the main contenders to lead the ANC.
“Since 2007, every ANC conference has led to one or other split,” Duarte said. There could be “a spoilers’ breakaway after this conference,” she said.