ANALYSIS: Did Ramaphosa just snatch the ANC presidency?

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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Brenton Geach, Gallo Images, file)
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Brenton Geach, Gallo Images, file)

If ANC delegates to the party’s 54th vote according to the wishes of their branches, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa is likely to snatch victory from his competitor, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Adopted credentials numbers obtained by News24 shows that Dlamini-Zuma was the biggest loser in the auditing of branch delegates, potentially losing as many as 218 votes from provinces that are solidly behind her campaign.

Ramaphosa’s campaign also took a knock, losing up to 159 potential votes.

Mpumalanga, who is split in its support for the candidates, lost 28 delegate votes.

Extrapolated results using the percentages obtained by candidates in the branch nominations process and the final delegate numbers show that Ramaphosa may beat Dlamini-Zuma with as much as 500 votes.

ProvinceBranch nominationsDelegatesFinal delegatesDifferenceFinal extrapolation
CRNDZCR%NDZ%CRNDZ
KwaZulu-Natal19145429%70%870804-66233563
Mpumalanga11712349%51%736708-28347361
Eastern Cape4236187%13%648632-1655082
Limpopo39110479%21%643567-76448119
North West4529113%87%538446-9258388
Gauteng3746485%15%508491-1741774
Free State4420917%83%409349-6059290
Northern Cape1541194%6%197193-418013
Western Cape1211390%10%182136-4612214
47314326-40524141904
ANCWL60060
ANCYL60060
ANCVL55550
PEC18912168
NEC864343
Total450219231
Total477626332135

This assumes that delegates’ votes are in line with their branch nominations and that large-scale vote-buying didn’t take place.

North West was the biggest casualty of the credentials process, losing 92 delegates due to nullified branch general meetings. This is a huge blow for Dlamini-Zuma. Those present at conference will now have to continue participating as non-voting delegates.

Limpopo was the second-biggest loser (76 votes) and KwaZulu-Natal third with 66 delegates being disqualified. In total, 405 delegates were disqualified from voting, taking the total number of eligible delegates down to 4 326.

This total doesn’t include the numbers of the leagues, the provincial executive committees and the national executive committee. Dlamini-Zuma will score 120 votes from the Youth League and Women’s League, while Ramaphosa can count on most of the 55 votes from the Veteran’s League.

The provincial executive committees from the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal have been disqualified from voting, meaning another loss of 54 votes for Dlamini-Zuma.

The final number of voting delegates is 4 776, meaning you need 2 389 to “emerge” the victor.

News24 calculated the percentages of votes obtained by each candidate during the branch nominations process and extrapolated that to the final numbers from Sunday morning’s credentials plenary.

For Mpumalanga, where a mysterious “unity” candidate scored 223 branch nominations, we used the percentages scored by both candidates and applied that to the unity votes. But even if Dlamini-Zuma gets all the unity votes, it doesn’t affect the prediction.

The extrapolation shows Ramaphosa could win 2 633 votes against Dlamini-Zuma’s 2 135.

If all Mpumalanga’s unity votes go Dlamini-Zuma’s way, she could end with 2 305 votes – still 160 less than Ramaphosa’s 2 463.

Judging by the size of Mpumalanga delegates singing for Dlamini-Zuma during Saturday’s opening plenary and provincial chair DD Mabuza telling News24 that his province would probably vote 50/50 if there were two presidential candidates, it is unlikely that Ramaphosa will not get any “unity” votes.

Unknown factors that could sway delegates’ minds away from their branches’ wishes include vote-buying, promises of government positions offered by opposing camps or delegates changing their minds to join what they believe to be the winning faction.

It’s still too close to call, but the adopted numbers should give Team Ramaphosa a reason to smile.

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