2017-12-05 13:30
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal last night backed former AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma over Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to become the party’s president later this month.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal last night backed former AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma over Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to become the party’s president later this month. (Danielle Karallis (FILE))

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The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal last night backed former AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become party president later this month.

Dlamini-Zuma got 433 votes from branches across the province to rival Cyril Ramaphosa’s 193.

The support for Ramaphosa in the province was higher than had been expected in a race for the ANC presidency between the two that is expected to be extremely close.

The results announced last night at the provincial general council (PGC) at Durban’s Olive Convention Centre were met with ululations and whistling from some of Dlamini-Zuma’s supporters. However, it was evident that many were surprised by Ramaphosa’s showing.

“I can tell you now, there is something wrong with these numbers,” one of the delegates whispered.

KwaZulu-Natal was the last province to table its results after Limpopo, which earlier yesterday announced results that gave Ramaphosa 391 votes to 104. It was the fifth province to support Ramaphosa, joining the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

KwaZulu-Natal became the third province to endorse Dlamini-Zuma after the Free State and the North West.

Meanwhile, the ruling party in KwaZulu-Natal has flatly rejected calls for leadership positions not to be contested at the elective conference.

This follows an attempt to seek an “arranged leadership outcome” or a “unified slate” in an attempt to maintain unity in the party.

Tabling the ANC KZN’s political overview document at the party’s provincial general council (PGC) in Durban on Monday, party provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala dismissed those behind these proposals as “opportunists”. “It is one thing to call on whoever emerges at the conference to unite the organisation, and quite another to say that those contesting should stand aside. That is opportunism.

“What is even more opportunist is when an individual calls on those contesting to stand aside so that the very same person making the call can be elected,” Zikalala said.

His comments appear to be a none-too-veiled reference to the ANC’s Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza,

The “strongman” from Mpumalanga has called on the leadership candidates to draw up a “unified slate” that will include members from both the Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma camps.

To drive the point home, the majority of Mabuza supporters in the Mpumalanga province wrote “UNITY” on the ballots during branch nominations instead of the name of a candidate.

Mabuza is widely thought to be positioning himself to become deputy president of the party through this move.

While Dlamini-Zuma is leading Ramaphosa in Mpumalanga with 123 to 117 votes, a total of 223 were marked “UNITY”.

The ANC is facing the risk of a split after the conference after the contest between Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa has left the party deeply polarised.

Meanwhile, political analysts have warned that it is too early to draw conclusions about the elective conference result.

“What you see coming out of the PGCs is not a true reflection of the voting patterns at the actual conference,” said political analyst Xolani Dube.

Variables that needed to be taken into account included delegates who might vote differently to what their branches had instructed.

ANC structures such as provincial executive committees (PECs), veterans, women and youth league would also make up 10% of the overall vote.

“It is because of all these factors that make it difficult to tell which of the two candidates was likely to emerge at the conference,” Dube said.


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