JOHANNESBURG – As President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa react differently to nationwide demonstrations against Zuma, questions are being asked about why there's no unity on the issue.
Yesterday, Ramaphosa told reporters that leaders should listen to the concerns raised by thousands of protesters.
Ramaphosa's remarks are a marked contrast to Zuma's. He has accused the marchers of having racist motives. The protests have had mixed racial profiles, and drew tens of thousands to Pretoria on Wednesday and nationwide on 7 April.
He was speaking after attending the Easter service at the St Engenas Zion Church in Limpopo.
The president, however, believes the marches against him are racially motivated.
Political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni said, “This is an emerging thing which is consistent which we should expect more of as ANC gears up for the elective conference.”
Zuma is to step down as head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in December but his second term as president only expires after a general election in 2019. Ramaphosa and Zuma's ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are the leading candidates vying to replace him.
He is widely believed to support his ex-wife's candidacy, while Ramaphosa, a wealthy businessman and former trade unionist, has the backing of the ANC's labour allies.