David Mabuza is a mathematician. A magician even. It is no surprise that he declined nomination to be an MP. The move created the impression that he will not come back as the Deputy President or be part of the national executive to be unveiled early next week, although President Cyril Ramaphosa can still appoint up to two people on to the Cabinet, who are not MPs.
David Mabuza knows exactly what he is doing.
Being Deputy President brings many risks that may hamper Mabuza's presidential ambitions. The role of Deputy President makes him the "leader of government business", a tricky position when public policy, government administration, economic trends, and generally, all the serious stuff is not your cup of tea.
He has to answer off the cuff jibes in Parliament, for example, about the fourth industrial revolution - which he fluffed when it came his way a couple of months ago. Such scrutiny exposes him as just a country bumpkin with serious ambitions.
Also, his legacy in Mpumalanga, the original capital of political murders and toxic tenderpreneurship, is brewing nicely for anyone who wants to go through it with a fine tooth-comb. It's better to step aside before that...