KZN backlash for Ramaphosa

2017-12-24 06:04
Ace Magashule, Senzo Mchunu and Gwede Mantashe after the voting results were announced at Nasrec on Monday.Picture: Tebogo Letsie

Ace Magashule, Senzo Mchunu and Gwede Mantashe after the voting results were announced at Nasrec on Monday.Picture: Tebogo Letsie

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Newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa could face a backlash among his supporters – particularly in KwaZulu-Natal – who are not happy with his unwillingness to fight for his ally, Senzo Mchunu, after he laid the groundwork for his win this week.

The former provincial premier lost the position of secretary-general under controversial circumstances to Free State premier Ace Magashule.

Some supporters in the Ramaphosa camp had been willing to live with “DD” – the nickname given to new ANC deputy president and Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza. However, others felt “Ace is just out of the question”.

Amid threats of legal action, Ramaphosa met his supporters on the sidelines of the ANC’s 54th elective conference after his election, to plead with them to accept the outcome of the contest which saw Mchunu lose to Magashule by a mere 16 votes.

There were concerns that any revolt would collapse the conference and could lead to a split in the party.

The voting drama marked the first big test of Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office, and he failed it, some of his angry supporters from KwaZulu-Natal said.

The sentiment was that Gauteng was over-represented in the top six, with treasurer-general Paul Mashatile and deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte.

“KwaZulu-Natal has the biggest delegation, but now they have nothing. Senzo killed himself doing the groundwork,” said another lobbyist.

Ramaphosa was expected to meet Mabuza to discuss the terms and conditions of whatever agreement they brokered, which saw Mabuza throw his weight behind Ramaphosa.

“Already that deal with DD has made some people walk away. The likes of DD are supposed to go to jail in the new administration of the ANC. DD, along with Ace and Jessie, should be the examples we make so that people know we are serious about a new ANC,” said another.

“What Cyril is doing is not unity. Unity at what expense? He is a hybrid politician – a capitalist and a socialist – and that is a deadly combination. He has a veneer of good English and diplomatic demeanour. He has all the money he could ever want. What he wants is to be president of South Africa at all costs.”

Negotiations were under way between ANC headquarters Luthuli House and the disgruntled delegates, who had prepared court papers to challenge the outcome of the election, a move which could throw a spanner in the ANC works if successful.

This followed a dispute over the exclusion of some votes, because several delegates to the ANC conference did not appear on the voters’ roll. Their votes were “quarantined” and set aside.

The number was initially said to have been 68 ballots – the bulk of which came from regions supporting Mchunu, including Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal. But at the closing of the conference, Magashule, who affirmed that he was in charge, clarified that it was in fact 63 votes.

Of those, only 16 could be counted and were not sufficient for Mchunu to topple Magashule.

The Ramaphosa camp tried to push for a recount. Those on the slate of competing presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, that elected Magashule, vowed to push for a rerun of the entire top six election.

Ramaphosa and other ANC leaders scrambled to quell tensions. Various caucuses were held to try and work out the best solution to avoid a conference collapse while a committee was appointed to investigate the matter.

Ramaphosa told his supporters to let the matter go. But others said he had betrayed them by not fighting for Mchunu.

“Now that he is president, he wants to cut us loose and throw us under the bus,” said a disgruntled lobbyist.

Questions have been raised about the credibility of the election process and some alleged that there was tampering.

“Numbers are not determined by those who vote, but are determined by those who count them,” said another Ramaphosa lobbyist.

Others said the issue had been blown out of proportion.

“There is nothing wrong with how the matter was handled,” said another lobbyist, adding that not everything should be about Mchunu’s loss.

“It can’t just be all about you. There is a bigger picture. We need each other ahead of 2019. Unity is sacrosanct. Ramaphosa is a unifier. Furthermore, provincial leaders agreed to accept the outcome.”

Read more on:    anc  |  anc elective conference  |  cyril ramaphosa

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