The bat­tle of num­bers

CityPress - - News - HLENGIWE NHLABATHI hlengiwe.nhlabathi@city­

Mpumalanga ANC chair­per­son David Mabuza will mar­shal his forces to the party’s De­cem­ber con­fer­ence a con­fi­dent man with the lat­est tally of del­e­gates show­ing that he is the ul­ti­mate king­maker.

Mabuza’s prov­ince is now the sec­ond big­gest af­ter KwaZulu-Natal, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est fig­ures from Luthuli House sent to prov­inces this week.

At 736 del­e­gates, this means that its mem­ber­ship has jumped so much that it has now re­placed the Eastern Cape as the sec­ond most in­flu­en­tial prov­ince.

Mpumalanga will send 88 more del­e­gates than the Eastern Cape, which has been al­lo­cated 648 del­e­gates.

A di­vided KwaZulu-Natal is still firmly lead­ing the pack with a del­e­ga­tion of 870. How­ever, this is 108 less than the num­ber of its del­e­gates at the 2012 con­fer­ence.

Lim­popo is fourth with 643 del­e­gates, fol­lowed by North West which has dou­bled its del­e­gates to 538.

The new sta­tus of king­maker for Mpumalanga comes on the back of in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the ANC af­ter it re­ceived al­le­ga­tions of bo­gus mem­ber­ship and ma­nip­u­la­tion to in­crease the num­ber of del­e­gates from a par­tic­u­lar branch dur­ing elec­tive con­fer­ences and branch gen­eral meet­ings.

Other prov­inces that were un­der scru­tiny over “ghost” mem­ber­ship, in­clude KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Lim­popo.

This raises ques­tions on how much the ma­nip­u­la­tion con­trib­uted to the spike in mem­bers or whether this was due to the hard work put in with re­cruit­ment drives by prov­inces over the past few months.

Now that the prov­ince is the sec­ond-big­gest strong­hold, it gives Mabuza an up­per hand in ne­go­ti­a­tions with other pro­vin­cial lead­ers to find con­sen­sus in lead­er­ship and avoid a bruis­ing con­test.

Mabuza has been on a charm of­fen­sive cam­paign­ing for unity, to­gether with Gaut­eng chair­per­son Paul Mashatile, who will lead the fifth-big­gest del­e­ga­tion of 508.

Although KwaZulu-Natal is still the largest vot­ing bloc, un­like in the last two con­fer­ences where it was united on Zuma’s can­di­dacy, its sup­port is now split three-ways be­tween Cyril Ramaphosa, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Zweli Mkhize.

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