Early on Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s allies devised a strategy to rally ANC national executive committee (NEC) members to his defence in an effort to prevent his exit.
The president’s closest allies argued that he should be defended at all costs, despite his refusal to resign following an independent panel’s finding that he may have violated the Constitution.
There was some doubt at first about Ramaphosa’s ability to launch a political fight. But his supporters persuaded him that they could rally support for him.
Gwede Mantashe, the ANC chairperson, was said to have been among those who twisted Ramaphosa’s arm and told him that he couldn’t announce his resignation without first consulting the NEC.
On Friday, Ramaphosa’s allies said they would show the NEC that the panel’s report, led by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, was incorrect in fact and law, and that the president could not resign based on a “weak report.”
A Ramaphosa-supporting ANC NEC member told News24:
During a series of consultations on Thursday, Ramaphosa told a group of his long-time friends and closest Cabinet allies that he had decided to resign because he did not want to be blamed for the ANC’s poor performance in the 2024 elections.
According to an insider with knowledge of the conversations, Ramaphosa was adamant that, while he disagreed with the Section 89 panel report, resigning was the right thing to do.
The panel determined that Ramaphosa may have violated the Constitution and anti-corruption laws in connection with his business dealings in Phala Phala.
“He considered it carefully and stated that even if he challenges the report, it will take a long time for him to be cleared. That is why he stated that he was willing to walk away “According to the source.
Later, at his private home in Cape Town, Ramaphosa told a group of loyal ministers that he could not champion the renewal of the ANC while the Phala Phala cloud hung over his head.
“He seemed very clear that he couldn’t champion renewal in the party if he was going to be questioned at every turn,” the source said.
During consultations, Ramaphosa stated that he wanted to announce his resignation as president on his own terms, before the NEC was scheduled to meet.
According to two sources, Mantashe reminded him that he needed to speak to the ANC first before speaking to the public.
“The people did not vote for Ramaphosa, but for the ANC. As a result, he needed to speak with the ANC first before announcing his decision “According to an ANC NEC member.