The radical economic transformation (RET) group in the ANC is losing power and influence, and it looks like they will lose in all provinces except KwaZulu-Natal during the current party election season. If the results of the ANC elections in Gauteng are any indication, the glory days of the Jacob Zuma faction are over, since every candidate it backed lost.
Before the ANC conference in December, some people questioned how strong the RET faction was as a political group. There was doubt that the faction could beat party president Cyril Ramaphosa, who had been able to increase his power and influence since Nasrec in 2017. The RET group didn't have a clear choice to run against Ramaphosa. Ace Magashule was suspended as secretary-general, but he said he would run for office if the branches asked him to.
Prof. Dirk Kotze, a political analyst, said that the lack of leadership and the fact that the RET camp was split up had hurt it. He said, "They don't have a natural leader for the whole country." "Zuma is focused on his own problems, and the terms of his parole keep him away from politics. "In terms of parole, he is supposed to be sick, but the RET group still sees him as a kind of father figure."
Their biggest weakness was that they didn't speak as a single group.
"RET is not a movement or a group of people who all sing the same songs," Kotze said. "It's clear that the Phala Phala farm issue isn't going to be a problem, so it looks like Ramaphosa will win this election more easily. Even Zweli Mkhize isn't much of a threat because he only has support in KwaZulu-Natal.
When Lebogang Maile ran against Panyaza Lesufi for the ANC provincial chair, the RET group backed him. Lesufi won, but only by a very small amount. In the Eastern Cape, Babalo Madikizela was another candidate who was backed by the group. Oscar Mabuyane, who was already in office, won. Mlibo Qoboshiyane, the RET candidate with the least support in the province, dropped out of the race at the last minute.
Even though they didn't belong to the faction, RET members supported candidates in both the Gauteng and Eastern Cape elections. A member close to Maile, who did not want to be named, said that Maile had support from the RET at the provincial conference last weekend, but he did not belong to the group. Only the fact that they were both leaders in the ANC Youth League and the Congress of South African Students brought them together.
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