Mantashe warns ANC delegates against 'selling their votes'

Cape Town – ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has warned branch delegates against the pitfalls of "selling their votes" in the party's national leadership race.

Mantashe was addressing delegates at the Western Cape ANC's provincial general council (PGC) in Cape Town on Sunday, where the province is due to consolidate its 182 branch nominations.

Mantashe admitted the ANC was now in a time "where money is used to buy delegates".

"A vote all of a sudden is not a function of consciousness, but of who are offered the highest bid. It is very terrible for the ANC," he said.

"I hope that delegates will not be bought over to change the mandate of their branches."

Mantashe said branches needed to be persuaded politically and ideologically, not through the "evil" of money.

"The ANC cannot be sold to the highest bidder. It's not in an auction. Sometimes we've used the conference as an auction."

He then imitated a mock auction where the announcer calls out various prices at rapid speed, to the laughter of the delegates.

"It is dangerous to sell your vote," he continued.

"If you sell your vote now, that decision will haunt you and the leadership for the next five years."

'Disunity is your enemy'

The Western Cape will find out which candidates their 182 branches preferred for various national leadership positions, to be elected at next month's national elective conference.

The province was now the smallest in the ANC by branches, a title previously held by the Northern Cape.

Mantashe told the delegation that the Western Cape had the potential to be the fourth biggest province for the party, but was being crippled by disunity.

"Unity does not just come from above. You just don't pray for it. You work for it. It must start here. The Western Cape has the biggest enemy; it is disunity.

"You hate each other with passion. As long as you do that, you are not going to recover. You will undercut each other all the time."

As the smallest party responsible for only 3.8% of ANC membership, the only way to influence the national conference was with quality debate and ideological clarity.

"If you are divided, you are not going to have either."

Slate politics

Mantashe said the purpose of the various PGCs was to hand power back to the branches, to show they have a say over the future of the party, and avoid influence from power players.

It was also to eliminate "slate politics", the process that divided the party along certain lines at past conferences.

"Just because my comrade has a different view, does not mean he is my enemy. If I want to persuade him [or her], I must go to him and persuade him, and not treat him as an enemy."

He reminded officials that the work of the ANC must be more important to them than making a few bucks on the side.

The delegation was dominated by members who prefer Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to be elected as new party president.

Factional battles

The province has seen factional battles play out in public this year between the leadership of the Cape Town metro, and the broader province, over its preferred choice of candidate.

Ramaphosa is expected to have almost a two-thirds lead of branch nominations in the province, which will be announced later on Sunday.

Provincial ANC veterans were present in the crowd, including former premier Ebrahim Rasool, former Hawks head Anwa Dramat, and Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich.

Approximately 50% of branch nominations were consolidated by 13:00 on Sunday.

The official announcement is expected after 17:00. The counting is being handled by EleXions Agency, a private company that has handled ANC conferences since 2007.

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