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Mabuza wants out, Mashatile wants in — new plot turn in South Africa’s game of thrones

His power spent, the deputy president David Mabuza threw down the gauntlet to President Cyril Ramaphosa this week. 

Is he on the rope, or isn’t he? He asked Ramaphosa and said he would not hang onto this job but would resign if the ANC deputy president Paul Mashatile wanted it. 

Mabuza had been reading all the interviews the ANC deputy president Paul Mashatile gave in the weeks before and after his election as the party’s number two. 

Those interviews make clear that he will not cool his heels at Luthuli House until the 2024 national election. Instead, he wants to get going as “Mr Implementer”, as the Sunday World calls him. 

At 61 years old, Mashatile wants to be deputy president and then the top job after spending the past few years as a king-maker.  

At the party’s 2017 elective conference, where Ramaphosa was elected leader by 179 votes, everybody knew that Mashatile had won him the crown.  

He had done so by getting Mabuza to drop his support for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who also ran. Because ‘DD’, as the deputy president is known, brought the highest number of delegates to the conference, swung it for Ramaphosa.  

Mabuza also had presidential ambitions and spent from 2018 to 2022 playing the deputy.  

But in the meantime, his stronghold of Mpumalanga fell under the control of various warring factions of the ANC and fell apart. 

Now Mabuza faces the ambitions of a young politician breathing down his back, and he does so almost isolated without a meaningful ANC constituency. 

Ramaphosa is caught between a rock and a hard place. He owes loyalty to Mabuza, but if he doesn’t give Mashatile what he wants, he could face a tough year and the possibility of a face-off with the man who wants to be ‘President Paul’. DM

source: dailymaverick