Cyril camp hires guards

2017-12-12 13:45
Presidential hopeful Cyril Rramaphosa.

Presidential hopeful Cyril Rramaphosa. (File)

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As lobbying intensifies ahead of the ANC elective conference, presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa’s camp has put its delegates under 24-hour protection.

According to insiders, the decision to assign each delegate a bodyguard was taken at a strategy meeting in Johannesburg over the weekend.

“The meeting presented us with an opportunity to conduct a situation analysis to enable us to respond to a number of threats that we are currently facing, including vote-buying and the rigging of elections,” a KwaZulu-Natal delegate who attended the meeting said.

Ramaphosa is leading the nominations for the ANC presidency, with 1 861 branch nominations to rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s 1 309.

However, spokesperson for the Ramaphosa faction in KwaZulu-Natal, Sthembiso Mshengu, attempted to paint a picture of a united ANC.

“All I can say to you is that we are one ANC, we will use the same transport, accommodation and eat the same food,” he said.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the two factions, who are currently embroiled in court battles, operate from separate offices.

“After input from various provinces, the meeting reached the conclusion that the only way we could lose at the conference is if underhand tactics, such as the busing in of bogus delegates and the intimidation of our candidates, were used against us,” the inside source said.

The camp will also enlist the services of intelligence companies to assist in picking up irregularities in processes ranging from registration to the counting of votes. “One of our biggest fears is around the creation of bogus delegates who will either be used to vote illegally or to collapse the conference by engaging in violent and other disruptive acts,” the source said.

Despite the majority of ANC branches around the country having endorsed Ramaphosa, there is no guarantee delegates will follow directives from branches as voting will be by secret ballot.

While it is an established practice for camps to lobby rival delegates ahead of the conference, this has become controversial in recent years with rumours of delegates being offered substantial amounts of money for their votes.

As a precaution, the weekend meeting also resolved that delegates in the Ramaphosa camp would use separate buses when travelling to the conference.

Private security companies have been hired to escort these buses.

“Even there in Johannesburg, security will be tight in those hotels that will be utilised by our delegates.

“No other person from outside our camp will be allowed in the establishments where our delegates will be staying while attending conference,” the source said.

While Mshengu declined to confirm the resolutions of the meeting, he conceded there were concerns around possible underhand tactics.

“Given what these people have been doing during branch general meetings (BGMs) and also their conduct during the 2015 KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial elective conference, which the courts have since ruled illegitimate, it will be naïve for us not to put measures in place to ensure that the conference is run according to ANC guidelines. If we receive information on plans to disrupt the conference we don’t have any reason to disbelieve it, given the NDZ people’s track record,” said Mshengu.

He later changed his tune.

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) eThekwini regional leadership, which is among Dlamini-Zuma most committed supporters, rubbished the Ramaphosa camp’s fears.

“It is unfortunate that while some of us are working round the clock to ensure that the national conference becomes a success, some comrades are sitting in dark corners wishing the conference to fail,” said ANC eThekwini regional spokesperson Thinta Cibane.

“They can beef up their security and do whatever they like, but they can’t pretend to be wanting the conference to go ahead. If they really want the conference to go ahead then why do they keep on taking the ANC to court,” said Cibane.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  cyril ­ramaphosa

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