'Ghost delegates' delay ANC KZN conference

2015-11-07 15:55
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

(Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban - The ANC KwaZulu-Natal elective congress was severely delayed on Saturday because of apparent 'ghost delegates' and duplication of accreditation tags.

It is understood that around 1 300 delegates were expected to attend the conference held in Pietermaritzburg, but on Friday, the first day of conference, there were close to 2 000.

Three sources confirmed to News24 that there had been ghost delegates.

A source who helped with the verification process claimed this was part of a plot, and that the person behind the duplicating of delegate tags was arrested.

"When we heard about this we called every registered delegate to check if they were the right delegate," he told News24.

There were around 400 extra tags, the source said.

"I am told that that hall fills about 2000 delegates and there were 1300 delegates. We noticed there was something wrong when we saw people standing all over... That is when people were asked to leave the hall and asked to come in again one at a time."

He claimed Durban University of Technology students were promised R2 500 to vote.

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said the party had a vigorous verification processes of delegates throughout accreditation and registration.

''We can double check when there are discrepancies and yesterday an exercise was undertaken to test the effectiveness of both the verification of registration and credentials that were official.”

Low number

He dismissed that there were hundreds of fraudulent delegates, saying only a few individuals had been weeded out.

“It’s not true, a very low number was identified and they were isolated out of the conference.”

He would not put a figure to how many delegates were kicked out.

“Their accreditation and tags were withdrawn as part of the process of ensuring that we sanitise the delegates and have the correct number of people that are legitimately representing branches.”

Khoza said he was not aware of an arrest.

“If there were people that were arrested, we would have been briefed by the security.”

He said the situation was under control by Saturday afternoon.

“Branches are entitled to an X number of delegates from branches, there might have been a mistake in terms of the numbers that were allocated, it was sorted out.”

He did not think there was anything malicious about the incident.

Divided

KwaZulu-Natal, the ANC's largest province, is divided over its support for current chairperson Senzo Mchunu and secretary Sihle Zikalala.

The two will be going head-to-head for the position of chairperson and it is understood that if Zikalala wins, the ANC is more likely to elect a woman president at its 2017 elective conference.

Another highly placed source said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe was called, and he instructed that a manual verification process be carried out and a head count conducted.

"Every delegate was counted, their tags were checked and that they were delegates who had registered [was checked]."

The so-called ghost delegates arrived at the conference first and when registered delegates arrived they found that someone else had used their tags to enter the conference, according to the source.

The issue of delegate numbers had pushed the conference's programme back a day.

Read more on:    anc  |  senzo mchunu  |  gwede mantashe  |  sihle zikalala  |  pietermaritzburg  |  politics

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