South Africa has a thriving political space with many politicians and wanna-be politicians. Of course, the political position one occupies determines just how powerful one is. One might be old in age but without a powerful and strategic position, one is just like the next person next door.
Of course, one might be a politician without necessarily wielding a political position at some point but be just as powerful. But then, this example is not exactly prevalent – not in South Africa anyway
It is easy to point to the most powerful politicians in the country, and we will try to bring 10 of them to you with this post. The very first person in the list that follows is actually the most powerful politician in South Africa.
1. Cyril Ramaphosa
He is the current president of South Africa and undoubtedly the most powerful man in the country. His being in charge of the whole country makes him the most powerful man there.
A former mineworker and trade unionist (he was one-time secretary general of the National Union of Mineworkers NUM)), Cyril Ramaphosa took over from Jacob Zuma, who sank in the storm of corruption allegations against him/
Interestingly, years after, Cyril Ramaphosa himself would face corruption allegations. A heist had taken place at his Phala Phala farm and millions in foreign currency were reportedly stolen but he failed to report the robbery to the police authorities.
His former police chief Arthur Fraser blew the lid on the heist with CCTV footage to back it up. He accused Ramaphosa of money laundering, corruption and others. Although South Africans poured into the streets calling for the president’s resignation, he managed to weather the storm and continue in his place as president of the Rainbow Nation. He is currently angling for a second term in office.
2. Julius Malema
He might be young but Julius Malema already has an army of loyalists around him as leader of the controversial collective called Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
This party is distinguished by its red clothing and red bullet – apparently a symbol of revolution and departure from the status quo.
Born in 1981, Julius Malema has no clue who his father is, and other several men have popped up around South Africa claiming to be his father, but he has not accepted any of them. He believes they are now trying to use him as retirement benefits now that he is rich and accomplished – the same people who never showed up when he was growing up.
3. Jacob Zuma
He is the former president of South Africa who lost his position as a result of the storm of corruption allegations against him and claims that he facilitated the capture of the South African state by the Gupta family.
Although he has been under investigation since leaving office, Zuma remains a powerful and important force in South African politics. He is currently pushing a private prosecution case against a Ramaphosa loyalist. Appeal for him to drop the case is yet to yield any fruit.
4. David Mabuza
He is the deputy president of South Africa and easily one of the most powerful politicians in the country by virtue of his position. If the current presence should be impeached or exit the material plane suddenly. Mabuza is automatically in line to succeed him – and correspondingly become the most powerful man in the Rainbow Nation.
He recently indicated his interest in resigning his position as deputy president. Until that happens, he remains one of the most powerful politicians in the Rainbow Nation.
5. Helen Zille
Otta Helene Maree, known simply as Helen Zille, is another powerful South African politician deserving of a place on this list. A journalist and activist, Helen Zille stands out as one of the leaders of South Africa’s major opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. She had once served as premier of Cape Town
6. Pravin Gordhan
He might no longer be as visible as he was during the Jacob Zuma era, but Pravin Gordhan remains one of South Africa’s most powerful politicians. A former anti-apartheid activist, Pravin Gordhan had once served as minister of finance, where he managed Soity Africa’s revenue.
He might no longer have that position but remains a powerful political force nonetheless
7. Mondli Gungubele
As Minister of State Security in South Africa, Mondli Gungubele is also one of the most powerful politicians in the country. His role is singularly important as it concerns national security and gives him access to crucial intelligence in the country as a whole and even externally as well. This translates to power.
8. Gwede Mantashe
He served in the government of Jacob Zuma and is currently serving as part of Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidency. As a minister, he is known as one of the current president’s loyalists. But there’s more to being a minister, as he is also one of the top seven executives in the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
Mantashe has been vocal about South Africa’s energy crisis and was instrumental in Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter stepping down.
9. Paul Mashatile
Paul Mashatile is another powerful South African politician that deserves a spot here. He was recently elected as deputy president of the ruling African National Congress. In the event of David Mabuza’s exit as deputy president to Cyril Ramaphosa, many pundits see him as the next man to take over.
He is known to be a part of the “Alex Mafia” – a collective said to wield enormous influence in Alexandria and beyond. He once served as deputy minister under former president Jacob Zuma.
10. John Steenhuisen
John Steenhuisen stands pit as the leader of South Africa’s major opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). The collective has been at the forefront of the objection to load shedding and the way Eskom, the country’s power utility, is run.
Born in 1976, John Steenhuisen stands out for how he has been able to keep the ANC on its toes as leader of the DA