ANC electoral committee chairperson Kgalema Motlanthe warned provincial and regional structures that they were wrong to announce their preferred candidates for leadership of the party before the nomination and consolidation processes had been concluded.
However, some of the provinces questioned the electoral committee’s views, arguing that provincial executive committees (PECs) and regional structures were still voting for delegates.
Some members of the party in eThekwini and Dr Musa Dladla regions believed they were being targeted because the letter was written after they had announced their preferred candidates.
Yesterday (Saturday), Bheki Mtolo – the ANC provincial secretary in KwaZulu-Natal – sent a letter to Motlanthe, stating: “In your capacity as chairperson of the electoral commission of our movement, I must state [to you] categorically that it would be very difficult at this stage to obey your very late instruction after such long inaction by your good self.
“The ANC PEC in KwaZulu-Natal has convened a special PEC on Monday to receive a consolidated report from regions regarding the outcome of branch consultations. On Tuesday, we will therefore make our pronouncement known to the nation, as other various PECs have already done [recently] without any instruction cautioning them about the guidelines.”
The eThekwini and Dr Musa Dladla regions said during the week that they would endorse Dr Zweli Mkhize as president of the party and acting secretary-general Paul Mashatile as his deputy.
The two influential KwaZulu-Natal regions made the pronouncement after several provincial structures had done so in the past week.
Several provincial and regional structures were identified as having violated the party’s nomination policy by pressurising branches to nominate their preferred candidates ahead of the party’s 55th national conference, to be held from December 22.
Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape were accused of making pronouncements about the top six of the party ahead of the conference. This could influence branch nomination processes.
The five provincial executive structures were called out, along with eThekwini and Dr Musa Dladla regions, for violating the ANC nomination processes.
Their actions angered the electoral committee chairperson, who wrote a letter to Mashatile, expressing his dissatisfaction with the way the nomination processes were being violated.
Motlanthe asked Mashatile to discourage all provinces and branches from making pronouncements until the nomination and consolidation processes had been concluded.
Gauteng ANC spokesperson Lesego Makhubela said he had not seen the letter, but had heard about it. He said his provincial structure did not believe that the letter had been addressed to it, as it was not sent to the Gauteng ANC offices.
Makhubela said PECs did not arrive at a conference as bystanders, but were treated like branches with voting powers. Reacting to the letter, Limpopo spokesperson Jimmy Machaka said there was nothing preventing the PEC from making a pronouncement.
“In any event, our pronouncements weren’t meant to violate any electoral rules, which we believe we didn’t,” he said.
Although Motlanthe did not mention names in his letter, insiders said he had written it after realising that the pronouncements were becoming the norm, even though the nominations had not yet been concluded.
In his letter, dated September 23, which City Press has seen, Motlanthe wrote that the electoral committee was extremely disappointed and concerned by the recent pronouncements of some provincial and regional structures regarding their preferred candidates for certain national executive committee (NEC) positions.
Four provinces made a pronouncement that they were in favour of President Cyril Ramaphosa for a second term of office, but differed in their preferred candidates for his deputy.
Gauteng and Limpopo wanted Mashatile to be his deputy and Stan Mathabatha as national chairperson.
Mpumalanga wanted Ronald Lamola to deputise for Ramaphosa, while the Eastern Cape declared that it would endorse its chairperson, Oscar Mabuyane, as deputy, with Gwede Mantashe retaining the national chairperson’s position.
A source said:
City Press has established that five provincial PECs – Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and the Northern Cape – have begun talking about voting as a bloc.
Another source in the Eastern Cape said talks with Limpopo to vote as a bloc had reached a deadlock, because they could not agree on the suggested names of the chairperson and deputy president.
“Limpopo’s pushing for Mathabatha to be the chairperson, while the Eastern Cape wants Mantashe for that position,” said the source.
“They also differ on the position of deputy president, because the Eastern Cape wants Mabuyane and Limpopo prefers Mashatile,” he added.
The source said Babalo Madikizela’s faction in the Eastern Cape was the one that supported both Limpopo and Gauteng’s preferred candidates because they were pushing for Enoch Godongwana to be treasurer-general.
The source said:
The behind-the-scenes talks forced Motlanthe to request Mashatile to issue a directive dissuading all ANC structures and leaders from making these “premature and undemocratic pronouncements of their preferred candidates”.
A PEC member in Mpumalanga told City Press this week that the province was willing to vote with any other province, as long as it supported Mpumalanga’s wish for Lamola to become deputy president.
“The issue of the current deputy president, David Mabuza, hasn’t been clearly resolved because there are those who still prefer him to remain and some are willing to accept that, as long as we have our own in the top six,” said the individual.
Another source said it was easy for Gauteng and Limpopo to agree, because their preferred candidates were not contesting each other. “Gauteng’s pushing for Mashatile to be deputy president and Limpopo’s been pushing for that too. Limpopo also wants Mathabatha to be national chairperson, which Gauteng agreed to, as it didn’t yet have a name for that position,” he added.
However, the electoral committee made an impassioned plea for all leaders at provincial and regional level to stop all attempts to influence nominations from above, thus unduly pressurising branches to nominate their preferred candidates. Motlanthe warned that failure to respect the directive could lead to disciplinary measures against offenders.
“We wish to appeal to all leaders and members of the ANC to abide by the rules, as failure to do so may result in disciplinary action and disqualification of the offenders from participating in the nomination processes leading to the 55th national conference,” he stated.
He added that branch nominations were open until October 2 2022. Thereafter, provincial nominations would be consolidated to give a true reflection of leaders who had been nominated and preferred by each province, based on statistical reports.