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D-Day for NDZ and Ramaphosa: Who will take the top spot?

Inside Education Reporters

Despite efforts by ANC chairpersons from several provinces to broker a deal in a bid to end up with a lesser divisive, uncontested elective conference, several leaders in the ruling party’s top brass forged ahead and accepted nominations to contest for the party’s top six positions.

While voting was delayed shortly after the nominations list was consolidated to allow for ballot papers to be printed,results from the vote that commenced late last night are expected to be announced
today.

With nominations reflecting leadership slates – one headed by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa while the other is headed by former African Union (AU)Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – it looked like the contestation between the two factions would go down to the wire despite both camps claiming
victory.

For leaders to qualify as nominees for the Presidential post, 25% of the 5000 voting delegates needed to nominate their preferred candidate.

Ramaphosa received 1469 branch nominations from six provinces for the position of President, while his counterpart Dlamini-Zuma was nominated by 1094 delegates across six provinces.

The faction that wants Ramaphosa to succeed outgoing President Jacob Zuma has over the past few months voiced its concern over a possibility of his counterpart Dlamini-Zuma taking over as President.

Despite Dlamini-Zuma’s track record in the public service before being appointed as the Chairperson of the AU, her endorsement by a faction seen to be heavily influenced by the Gupta family – who are faced with allegations of state capture – has seen many within the ANC publicly discrediting her campaign ahead of the elective conference.

Ramaphosa has been seen as a leader who, should he win, would come in and rid the Cabinet of Ministers believed to have been captured by the Gupta family.

The Ramaphosa faction has been circulating a slate of its preferred top six plus 80 NEC members over the weekend.

The slate consists of a mix of veteran ANC leaders like former Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, sacked former Finance Ministers Pravin Gordhan and Nhlanha Nene and Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, among others.

For the position of Deputy President, three candidates received the nod from branches.

Current ANC Mpumalanga chairperson David Mabuza, who came into conference branded as the ruling party’s “unity candidate” belonging to Dlamini-Zuma’s slate, received 1128 nominations from six provinces, while the ANC’s outgoing Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize received 193 branches in one province and NEC member Lindiwe Sisulu received 619 nominations from four provinces.

Both Mkhize and Sisulu initially ran for the Presidential post but Sisulu later agreed to be Ramaphosa’s running mate. Mkhize rose from his seat to decline his nomination.

He said after several consultations with ANC leaders and delegates, he felt in was in the best interest of the ANC for him to withdraw from contesting the position for the sake of unity.

Outgoing Secretary General Gwede Mantashe received 1499 nominations for the position of Chairperson. Mantashe will against ANC’s NEC member Nathi Mthethwa, who received 807 nominations.

For the position of Secretary General, ANC Kwazulu-Natal’s former Chairperson Senzo Mchunu got the nod from 1479 branches and his opponent, ANC Free State Chairperson and Dlamini-Zuma backer Ace Magashule received 930 nominations.

ANC’s Deputy Secretary General was nominated for the same position by 845 delegates while Cosatu’s Second Deputy President Zingiswa Losi received 361
nominations.

Two other candidates – former ANC Youth League Secretary General Vuyiswa Tulelo and SABC Board Deputy Chair Febe Potgieter-Gqubule declined nominations.

ANC Gauteng Chairperson Paul Mashatile accepted nomination for the position of Treasurer General along with NEC member Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane decline her nomination.

Ahead of the announcement of the consolidated nominations lists, there was a stand-off between the Electoral Agency and branch delegates. The electoral Agency proposed to the conference that for the vote of the 80 NEC members, delegates should not be allowed to walk into voting booths with a list of
people they want to vote for to discourage slate politics.

Branch delegates raised objections from the floor, with most of them saying that they could not remember all the names of their preferred candidates.

Earlier in the day, ANC Northern Cape Chairman Zamani Saul told journalists that he and chairpersons from some provinces have been meeting and will continue to meet behind the scenes with an aim of averting a contest.

The race for the party’s President at the 54TH ANC Conference, which started a few months ago with eight candidates announcing their Presidential ambitions, ended with a majority of delegates nominating the current Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former African Union (AU) Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the party’s top post.

Credentials and how factions called the race

Earlier in the day, Duarte told journalists during a press briefing that after a brief delay, a plenary had adopted credentials of who and how many delegates were eligible to vote.

She said a total tally of 4 766 delegates were eligible to vote, and that a Presidential candidate would need 2389 or more votes to emerge victorious.

A faction backing Ramaphosa claimed that he would, come results day, edge his contender out by just over 300 votes.

Despite a stumbling block that has seen courts nullifying two PECs – KwaZulu-Natal and Free State – and a region in the North West – all sympathetic to Dlamini-Zuma – her faction still believed that they would trump Ramaphosa by a similar
margin.

Duarte said the results from the vote would be released on Monday.

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