Ramaphosa takes an early lead

With al­most a third of branch nom­i­na­tions com­pleted, Cyril Ramaphosa is lead­ing the ANC pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion count. But Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is cer­tainly not out of the race yet

Mail & Guardian - - News - M&G Po­lit­i­cal Desk

Of the 1 138 ANC branches (out of a to­tal of about 3 800 branches in good stand­ing) that had held their branch gen­eral meet­ings (BGMs) by Thurs­day, 768 nom­i­nated Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s suc­ces­sor and 360 nom­i­nated Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

All other pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls — Hu­man Set­tle­ments Min­is­ter Lindiwe Sisulu, ANC trea­surer gen­eral Zweli Mkhize, ANC pol­icy guru Jeff Radebe, National As­sem­bly speaker Baleka Mbete and for­mer ANC trea­surer Mathews Phosa — ap­pear to have fallen by the way­side at this early stage of the nom­i­na­tions process, with al­most a third of the party’s branch nom­i­na­tions in.

Th­ese num­bers are al­most cer­tain to change in the next few weeks as the re­main­der of the BGMs are held.

The elim­i­na­tion of some can­di­dates has led to horse-trad­ing, with Ramaphosa sup­port­ers on the one hand try­ing to woo Mkhize to join their list as his deputy and DlaminiZuma’s camp on the other try­ing to con­vince Mpumalanga Pre­mier David Mabuza to ac­cept nom­i­na­tion as her deputy.

Mabuza has pre­vi­ously said, for the sake of unity he would not as­so­ciate him­self with ei­ther of the two main fac­tions in the ANC.

Lag­ging fur­ther be­hind is Sisulu, who was nom­i­nated by only two branches in the Western Cape.

ANC branch nom­i­na­tions are presided over by re­gional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (REC) mem­bers, and are sent di­rectly to Luthuli House and to their re­spec­tive pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tees (PECs) once a de­ci­sion is made. This has ex­posed the of­fi­cials pre­sid­ing over the meet­ings to in­tense crit­i­cism from ri­val fac­tions, re­sult­ing in a num­ber of com­plaints be­ing sent to sec­re­tary gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe about meet­ings that were al­legedly con­vened il­le­gally.

KwaZulu-Natal

KwaZulu-Natal is the ANC’s big­gest prov­ince and will be send­ing 870 del­e­gates out of the to­tal of 4 723 to the con­fer­ence, with most mem­bers there back­ing Dlamini-Zuma. Of the 324 of the prov­ince’s branches that sat for their BGMs, 247 nom­i­nated DlaminiZuma and 79 nom­i­nated Ramaphosa.

The bulk of branches in the party’s eThek­wini, Moses Mab­hida, Harry Gwala and Musa Dladla re­gions have cho­sen Dlamini-Zuma. Ramaphosa made a de­cent show­ing in the AbaQu­lusi (Zu­l­u­land) re­gion, where 11 of 12 branches in Non­goma backed him. Only one Non­goma branch re­port­edly backed Dlamini-Zuma.

One of Ramaphosa’s cam­paign co­or­di­na­tors, Sithem­biso Mshengu, was not will­ing to com­ment on the state of play after the sec­ond round of BGMs took place. He did, how­ever, claim that there were “a lot of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and there are a lot of pro­cesses out­stand­ing, but I be­lieve we are on the right track within the lim­i­ta­tions of the pro­cesses, as many as they are. In re­la­tion to support for CR [Ramaphosa], we are happy but we could do bet­ter.”

Mshengu said a “lot” of branches in eThek­wini, Moses Mab­hida and Harry Gwala had lodged ap­peals with Luthuli House about the al­leged ma­nip­u­la­tion of BGM pro­cesses.

“eThek­wini has been the worst. Metro po­lice have been used to keep peo­ple out of meet­ings and in­tim­i­date them; peo­ple are ar­riv­ing at branch meet­ings to find they have been re­moved from the vot­ers’ roll,” he said.

ANC eThek­wini re­gional sec­re­tary Bheki Ntuli said all 57 branches that had held BGMs had cho­sen DlaminiZuma. The re­gion has 110 branches.

In the uKhahlamba re­gion, six branches met in uMt­shezi. Four nom­i­nated Ramaphosa and two failed to nom­i­nate, with the del­e­gates be­ing in favour of Ramaphosa, ac­cord­ing to a source in the re­gion.

ANC Youth League KwaZulu-Natal chair­per­son Kwazi Mshengu said that in the Musa Dladla re­gion 27 branches had nom­i­nated DlaminiZuma and six Ramaphosa. The re­gion has 89 branches that have qual­i­fied for the national con­fer­ence.

In the Moses Mab­hida re­gion, of the 86 branches, 60 held BGMs and 59 nom­i­nated Dlamini-Zuma. Fif­teen of the Lower South Coast’s 86 branches held BGMs, with eight nom­i­nat­ing Ramaphosa and seven Dlamini-Zuma.

In the Harry Gwala re­gion, 37 branches of 58 have con­vened, with 34 nom­i­nat­ing Dlamini-Zuma and eight Ramaphosa. In Greater KwaDukuza, 34 branches have nom­i­nated Dlamini-Zuma and five Ramaphosa. In AbaQu­lusi, Mshengu said, seven had nom­i­nated Dlamini-Zuma, two Mkhize and 16 Ramaphosa.

At eMalahleni, 19 of 53 branches have met, with six nom­i­nat­ing Dlamini-Zuma and 13 Ramaphosa. In the Inkosi Bam­batha re­gion, of 20 branches that have sat, nine have cho­sen Dlamini-Zuma and 11 Ramaphosa. In the Far North re­gion, 14 branches have con­vened, with seven nom­i­nat­ing Dlamini-Zuma and seven Ramaphosa.

Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga is the ANC’s sec­ond­biggest prov­ince and will be rep­re­sented by 736 del­e­gates at the De­cem­ber con­fer­ence. Twenty branches in two re­gions will be hold­ing their BGMs this week­end and, ac­cord­ing Ramaphosa’s back­ers, Dlamini-Zuma’s sup­port­ers are in­tent on col­laps­ing the meet­ings, fear­ing the ANC deputy will make in­roads in the prov­ince.

“Nom­i­na­tions so far show that Mabuza and his pre­mier league are not all-pow­er­ful, contrary to pop­u­lar belief. He is los­ing power, and there­fore he is sus­pected of be­ing the archi- tect of the ‘unity’ nom­i­nee,” a se­nior ANC leader said, al­lud­ing to Mkhize.

A to­tal of 32 branches have held their BGMs in the Ekan­gala re­gion, with 30 nom­i­nat­ing Ramaphosa and two back­ing Dlamini-Zuma.

Phosa, mean­while, be­lieves that he has the back­ing of nearly two-thirds of Mpumalanga, his home re­gion.

East­ern Cape

The East­ern Cape has 299 branches cleared to at­tend the con­fer­ence, and 195 have held their BGMs. Ramaphosa re­ceived a to­tal of 182 nom­i­na­tions, Dlamini-Zuma 11 and Mkhize two.

The party’s Amath­ole, Joe Gqabi and Nel­son Man­dela Bay re­gions are strongholds for Dlamini-Zuma and have yet to be­gin their nom­i­na­tions.

All 20 branches that met in the Sarah Baart­man re­gion nom­i­nated Ramaphosa. Al­fred Nzo branches, whose re­gional lead­ers backed Mkhize’s cam­paign, nom­i­nated him as Ramaphosa’s deputy. DlaminiZuma re­ceived three nom­i­na­tions.

A to­tal of 21 of the 23 branches in Buf­falo City nom­i­nated Ramaphosa and two nom­i­nated Mkhize. In the OR Tambo re­gion’s 77 BGMs, DlaminiZuma re­ceived three nom­i­na­tions; the other 74 back Ramaphosa.

Joe Gqabi, Amath­ole and Nel­son Man­dela Bay re­gional lead­ers this week lodged dis­putes with Man­tashe.

“The cur­rent PEC is de­lib­er­ately ex­clud­ing those who support NDZ [Dlamini-Zuma] … We’ve given them [the PEC] an ul­ti­ma­tum to give us the pack­ages or we will cre­ate our own doc­u­men­ta­tion,” Joe Gqabi sec­re­tary Mfundo Bon­gela said.

Western Cape

The nom­i­na­tion process i n the Western Cape has also been sti­fled by the “ma­nip­u­la­tion of the re­gional branch at­ten­dance reg­is­ters”, a se­nior pre­sid­ing of­fi­cial in the prov­ince told the Mail & Guardian.

Cho­sen ones: Mem­bers of the KwaZulu-Natal ANC Women’s League (above) per­form in support of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the party gears up for the ANC’s next national elec­tive con­fer­ence (scenes from pre­vi­ous conferences are pic­tured at left and bot­tom right). In Ekurhu­leni (top right), there was a re­volt among ANC branches this week that backed Cyril Ramaphosa in de­fi­ance of the re­gional di­rec­tive. Pho­tos: Ra­jesh Jan­ti­lal/AFP/Del­wyn Verasamy and Paul Botes

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