Zuma wins Mangaung

2012-12-02 10:00

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Bittersweet early victory for JZ amid the violence and chaos of nominations season

President Jacob Zuma will win a second term as ANC president.

The nominations season, which reached a zenith yesterday, shows that he has already secured more than the required votes for victory at the party’s conference in ­Mangaung later this month.

Zuma thus far has the support of 2 259 ANC delegates, slightly more than the 2 251 he needs to ­secure a second term.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has thus far received 482 nominations for the position as president, while the nomination conferences in three provinces fell apart.

These provinces constitute 986 delegates, so can’t materially alter the outcome.

Zuma’s preliminary figures ­exclude nominations from the ANC Women’s League and Veterans’ League.

Both leagues endorsed him, but we have excluded their delegates in our tallies as their final votes were not yet compiled.

Leagues send 45 delegates each to Mangaung while provincial ­executive leaders have 180 votes.

Motlanthe has his back to the wall. He has received 156 nominations for deputy president, while Cyril Ramaphosa garnered 1 851 nominations, even though he is a latecomer to the campaign.

In Gauteng, where Motlanthe was nominated for president, ­campaigners have resigned themselves to defeat.

“We know Kgalema is going to lose, but he is going to run just to make a point,” said a key Motlanthe ­lobbyist in Gauteng.

Zuma’s early victory is bittersweet. Three provincial nominations meetings collapsed amid violence and chaos, complaints were laid about voting at meetings and an assassination attempt was made on a provincial secretary.

Nominations from Limpopo, North West and the Western Cape were still outstanding by yesterday, the ANC’s deadline for nominations for its elective congress in Mangaung in two weeks’ time.

Violence marred nominations in Limpopo, where police had to disperse warring factions by using tear gas, at gunpoint, on Friday.

In the North West (increasingly the ANC’s Wild West), unknown gunmen on Friday morning opened fire on provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge in front of his home in Mahikeng.

In the Eastern Cape, Motlanthe’s last outpost for a Mangaung victory, the results came out overwhelmingly in favour of Zuma.

Motlanthe’s lobbyists are planning to contest the outcome in Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape following allegations that not all the delegates going to ­Mangaung are entitled to vote.

A special national executive committee meeting is scheduled for tomorrow to hear complaints from provincial nominations ­conferences.

“This outcome is a big problem,” said a Motlanthe lobbyist.

The discrepancies in figures in some provincial nominations meetings showed there were delegates who weren’t nominated by their branches.

Another Motlanthe lobbyist, also an MP, said: “That will undermine the conference. Our constitution says 90% must be branch delegates. It brings the whole Zuma support into ­question. Where did they get those extra numbers?”

Zuma’s supporters in the Eastern Cape said his victory was due to Motlanthe’s reluctance to campaign, meaning the lobby did not have a face.

In an era of personality politics, the idea of change was not enough to muster support.

A government official, who is a key lobbyist for Motlanthe, said he thought Zuma supporters had put up Ramaphosa’s name to force Motlanthe to declare that he will stand as deputy president.

“Now it appears as if Cyril is ­serious about standing.”

If all accept nomination, the race for deputy president will be crowded.

Motlanthe will be in a contest with businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, chairperson Baleka Mbete, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and ANC treasurer-general Mathews Phosa.

Of these, Ramaphosa, with 1 941 votes, is in the lead while Sexwale is in second place with 411. Next in line is Mbete with 235 votes. Motlanthe trails with 194 votes. Phosa got a paltry 83 votes.

He said he was still “agonising” over whether to accept nomination or not. “It might sound like ducking and diving ... (but it’s not).”

He cast an image of himself as a servant leader, not a brazen campaigner. He foreshadowed defeat.

“I believe I will always do my humble work at whatever level. I do not have to be in a position of leadership. I am not a professional politician.”

Could victory be snatched from Zuma once the conference gets under way?

Die-hard Motlanthe lobbyists claim he will get more support than he currently has.

They said the voting pool at Mangaung was bigger and it was easier to hide dissenting votes.

In smaller conferences, it is easier to identify those who voted differently, while in larger ones like Mangaung, it is more difficult to identify who voted against the will of the leaders.

Some also claim that, although delegates are mandated by their branches to vote for a certain candidate, they can still be swayed by lobbying ahead of Mangaung and during the congress.

– Additional reporting by Sabelo Ndlangisa and Sipho Masondo

- City Press

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