JOHANNESBURG – As speculation continues around deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s possible axing, his campaigners say they are ready for the move, adding that they are also ready to fight back.
Following President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle last week, Ramaphosa’s supporters said they knew of the president’s plan to also axe the deputy president.
Ramaphosa recently told Parliament he serves at the pleasure of the president, adding that if he was to be fired, he would accept it.
The deputy president’s campaigners say that they are aware of an alleged intelligence report that they claim President Jacob Zuma will use to fire Ramaphosa and charge him with treason.
But they say they are not moved.
One of his campaigners Madoda Sambatha says: “If he were to do that, we should, therefore, give him an award of being a moemish of the century.”
He says that if the move happens it will benefit the deputy president.
“If this thing happens, the deputy president of the ANC will have moral support in South Africans.”
The deputy president’s supporters say they are working behind the scenes to prepare for the president’s decision and to respond.
On Friday, President Zuma’s spokesperson said there was no basis for reports that the country’s leader would axe his deputy, speculation about which has weighed on the currency and bonds.
“It’s rumours and gossip and we don’t comment on them at all,” Zuma’s spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga told Reuters.
Answering questions in Parliament on Thursday about whether he might be sacked, Ramaphosa, a front-runner in December’s African National Congress leadership contest, said he could not speculate on rumours.
On Thursday, the deputy president said he would serve the country and its people even if Zuma fired him.
“And if the decision is to remove me, I will accept that as a decision that will have been taken by the president.”
Ramaphosa did not directly address reports that Zuma intends firing him on the basis of a dodgy intelligence report, insisting he serves at the pleasure of the president.
“I will continue serving the people of South Africa in one form, shape or another.”
Ramaphosa’s campaigning to become president of the ANC when it elects a new leadership in December, running a close-fold contest against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.