Lobbyists for ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have complained that nominations of branches supporting Cyril Ramaphosa have been fast-tracked to create the wrong impression that he is leading the succession race.The #NDZ17 group claims that once all branches have concluded their general meetings, the extent of the support for Dlamini-Zuma will shock the deputy president’s camp.The #CR17 spin machine has been sending regular updates of areas where he is leading the nominations, painting a picture of Ramaphosa being the runaway favourite.This week, Ramaphosa lobbyists told City Press they had already secured 2 500 branch nominations, but were aiming for more, in order to exceed the 51% majority of the 5 240 delegates expected to attend the ANC’s elective conference next month.FrustrationsIn the Northern Cape provincial general council held yesterday, 154 branches nominated Ramaphosa, while Dlamini-Zuma was only supported by 11.The two camps are among a total of at least seven vying to ensure their candidate takes over from President Jacob Zuma when he steps down as party leader next month.“They put in their branches first and frustrated ours,” said a supporter of Dlamini-Zuma.“You will find in some cases that branch packages are not there and things like that. Those are the things that they are trying to use to frustrate us. You must remember, where these people are in charge, there is also the issue of signature campaigns, which they do very smartly.”The signature campaign refers to the practice of branch leaders going house to house and getting members to sign the attendance register, even if they do not participate in their branch general meeting.“You will never notice unless you have your own people who can provide evidence that the meeting did not sit, or that those who signed the register were not present.”He conceded, however, that Dlamini-Zuma was not doing well in Gauteng, except in Sedibeng, where a number of branches, surprisingly, nominated her. “They have used a lot of money to buy conference delegates and that is why a lot of them will collapse when we win the conference,” said the source.Manipulating the nomination processesThe results of the nomination process had been trickling in from all over the country as lobbyists revealed which branches favoured their candidates.On Tuesday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told reporters that “almost 70% of ANC branches across the country have already convened their meetings”.Mpumalanga leads the pack, after 96% of its branches concluded their nominations, followed by the pro-Ramaphosa Northern Cape with 94%. It held its provincial general council this weekend. The ANC’s biggest province in terms of membership, KwaZulu-Natal, recorded the lowest progress at 41%.On Friday, Mantashe met provincial secretaries at party headquarters Luthuli House to assess the work branches still needed to finalise.Violence had been reported at some branch meetings and a few branch leaders had reportedly run away with the membership register. In some places, like Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, the register disappeared just before voting took place.ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize said this was “irregular and unacceptable”. “There is no way we can allow people to behave in a rogue manner in an ANC process that is supposed to be a reflection of the views of branches. Those people must be found and taken on.” Eastern Cape ANC chairperson Oscar Mabuyane said there had been skirmishes following the chaotic provincial conference at the beginning of October. He said some regional leaders had tried to take control of branch material in order to manipulate the nomination processes.“The ANC meeting must be open and transparent. ANC decisions cannot be taken in the boots of cars, in people’s bedrooms or where we enjoy ourselves with friends,” he warned.By Friday, at least 12 disputes had been recorded in the province and a national dispute resolution team including Zoleka Capa, Bheki Cele and Lindiwe Zulu was “working a 24-hour cycle” to address complaints, Mabuyane said.Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile said he was working with his counterparts in other provinces to forge unity and prevent slates.“We agreed that even beyond the nominations there will still be a need to talk, so that we avoid slates and a winner-takes-all approach.“For us it is not about who has the numbers and then that is it, but about whether we have managed to put in a united team,” Mashatile said. Mkhize has been mentioned as the face of the unity campaign.