ANC conference: Vote for new secretary general rocks ANC

2017-12-20 12:51
Delegates at the 54th ANC Conference.

Delegates at the 54th ANC Conference. (File)

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The ANC’s landmark national conference was on Tuesday night in danger of collapsing just a day after electing Cyril Ramaphosa as party president.

This followed a day of disputes over voting processes.

Ramaphosa supporters were yesterday evening threatening to take the ANC to court after several votes for the post of secretary general were allegedly not counted. They believe the votes were cast in support of their candidate, KwaZulu-Natal’s Senzo Mchunu, who narrowly lost the position to Ace Magashule, the Free State premier.

Magashule beat Mchunu by only 2 360 to 2 336 votes.

The disgruntled Ramaphosa supporters claim to be in possession of proof that their votes were not included in the final count and were late yesterday consulting lawyers

This followed a failure by ANC officials overseeing the conference to respond to their dispute.

“We wrote a letter to the steering committee urging it to rectify the matter as our votes had not been counting despite the fact that we are legitimate delegates,” said a delegate from the Limpopo province’s Vhembe region, who asked not to be named.

“If they think that we will just walk away then they are mistaken. We will definitely file a court application to compel those overseeing the conference to count our votes.”

Mchunu was backed by Ramaphosa while Magashule was in the rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma camp.

“Ace Magashule did not win as comrade Senzo had received more votes.

“We are appealing to the ANC leadership to do the right thing and count all the votes,” the Limpopo delegate said.

The Ramaphosa backers had lodged a dispute with the ANC electoral commission after the total votes garnered by both Magashule and Mchunu fell below the number of delegates who had been registered to vote at conference: 4 776 had been registered but only 4 696 voted.

Mchunu’s camp is convinced the former KwaZulu-Natal premier would have won the contest had the 68 votes — reportedly mainly from KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo — been counted.

ANC Limpopo provincial chairperson Stan Mathabatha said he was unaware of pending court application against the conference but confirmed that about 50 delegates from the province had lodged a dispute after their votes had not been counted.

“These are legitimate delegates who were elected by their branches in meetings which complied with all ANC guidelines.

“I can confirm that the matter had been brought to the attention of the steering committee, which I’m made to understand is yet to respond,” he said.

The matter came to light after ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, had on Monday evening sent out a WhatsApp message to Ramaphosa supporters.

“Our CR17 (a reference to the Ramaphosa camp) national delegates assembly will be held at our regular meeting venue next to the Statues.

“We will also report on the 68 votes that were not included in the report of the Electoral Commission at plenary which, when included, will change the numbers of comrade Senzo (Senzo) drastically and positively,” he said.

However, the complaint was met with a blunt response from Dlamini-Zuma supporters.

“You cannot say that you want a recount for just one position ... how do you now know who voted how [in] a secret ballot. So this means it has to be done for the entire top six. If they insist on a recount, then we will call for a rerun,” said North West premier Supra Mahomapelo.

ANC Youth League KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Kwazi Mshengu said he had been told that all the delegates whose votes were not counted did not appear on the voters’ roll.

“They are non-voting delegates who went on to vote despite the conference having made it clear that under no circumstances will no voting delegates be allowed to vote,” said Mshengu, a Dlamini-Zuma supporter.

Disputes over voting processes in the ANC last week resulted in the provincial executive committees of two provinces, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal being dissolved.

The party steering committee was on Tuesday locked in a meeting over the disputed votes for the entire day. It resulted in the voting for national executive committee (MEC) members, scheduled to begin on Tuesday morning, being delayed.

There was no indication by late last night whether the conference would pursue the matter further.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  anc conference

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