President Cyril Ramaphosa has avoided a potentially damaging contest for the deputy presidency by appointing David Mabuza as his deputy.
Before his announcement late on Monday night, there was widespread speculation that Lindiwe Sisulu would take the position.
Senior party leader Naledi Pandor was also mooted for the position. However, after a disastrous performance in Parliament while responding to Ramaphosa state of the nation address, there was disquiet in the ANC about Sisulu. Her dishevelled delivery was in stark contrast to that of Pandor, who gave a compelling speech on the same day while acting as a sweeper for the ANC after everyone else had spoken.
However, while Ramaphosa had sorted out political jockeying for the position, he opened himself to criticism by appointing the controversial Mabuza.
Currently the premier of Mpumalanga, Mabuza has been accused of corruption, although he has never been convicted. Most of his opponents in the party were hounded out of the party and he is a feared man in the province.
City Press had learnt that Mabuza was not interested in moving to government as deputy president, preferring to focus on “unifying” the party. But Ramaphosa was concerned about setting a precedent of bringing in an outsider to the position while overlooking the current ANC deputy president.
Mabuza delivered his last state of the province in Mpumalanga on Friday. He will have a tough time converting critics who feel that he is not the right material for the position.