Straight Zuma-Mbeki fight

2007-12-18 00:00

WITH no nominations from the floor last night for an additional presidential candidate, the race for leader of the ANC remains a two-horse race between President Thabo Mbeki and his deputy Jacob Zuma.

However, there was a surprise when Tokyo Sexwale was announced as one of two candidates for national chair, and in a dramatic twist he declined nomination and offered the post to Baleka Mbete. He was told by the election officer that he could not suggest a name and it had to come from the floor.

Mbete was duly nominated to stand against Joel Netshitenze, who is on Mbeki’s list. The gap for national chair on the Zuma list was left vacant after Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma opted to accept nomination as deputy president on the Mbeki list.

Mbete, who was earlier nominated for the post of deputy secretary-general, declined this post in favour of national chair and the candidate nominated for deputy secretary-general was Thandi Modise. Her name has been bandied around for a while and City Press last week reported that she was the new candidate of choice. She will stand against Thoko Didiza.

Other nominations remain unchanged: for deputy president the candidates are Kgalema Motlanthe and Dlamini-Zuma; for secretary-general, Mosiuoa Lekota and Gwede Mantashe; for national treasurer, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Mathews Phosa.

Delegates were told that after the nomination process, ballot papers were to be printed and voting was set to start at 6 am.

Following allegations that people have been asked to photograph their ballot papers with their cellphones to prove that they voted for the candidate they were paid for, all cellphones have been banned from the voting station.

Last night, both sides expressed confidence that they stand a chance to win and when asked, delegates were generally non-committal, saying anything can happen. The results of the top six leadership positions are expected to be announced today, after the votes are counted manually.

Earlier, 3 900 delegates out of 4 075 qualifed to take part in the ANC leadership election.

The figures indicate that provinces supporting Zuma have pulled out all the stops to ensure that their delegates are at the conference to vote. KwaZulu-Natal has all but two of the 608 voters that they were allocated present.

Mpumalanga has 320 of its allocated 325 voting delegates present and Northern Cape has 216 of its 220. Both the Youth League and the Women’s League were given 68 places and all 68 delegates were at the conference.

Provinces that lost heavily on having a voice in the voting process include Gauteng, which lost about 104 votes and Free State, which failed to nominate all its delegates.

Sixty-two of the 63 National Executive members who have voting rights are at the conference. Missing is former Justice minister Penuell Maduna, who is now in business.

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