Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: SOWETAN
Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: SOWETAN

Controversial leaders of newly formed parties, including former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Gupta associate Andile Mngxitama are set to be the the biggest losers of the general elections.

With 46.33% of the national votes counted by 4:45pm on Thursday afternoon, Mngxitama’s Black First Land First (BLF) party, which secured a meeting and well wishes from former president Jacob Zuma ahead of the elections, had received 6,515 votes, equivalent to 0.08%. Motsoeneng’s African Content Movement (ACM) performed even more dismally, getting just 1,871 votes (0.02%).

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The African Transformation Movement (ATM), whose officials include Mzwanele Manyi, who was also closely linked with the Guptas and briefly owned their media operations after they fled the country in the wake of Zuma's resignation in 2018,  led the pack with 31,592 votes.

Motsoeneng was fired from the SABC in 2017 after he was found guilty of bringing the public broadcaster into disrepute during a media conference. He had called a press conference to explain his decision to implement a 90% local quota at the SABC.

A report by then public protector advocate Thuli Madonsela found, among other things, that Motsoeneng had misrepresented his educational qualifications and further hiked his own salary by almost 11% to R4.1m during the 2015/2016 financial year.

Mngxitama is also no stranger to controversy and has fiercely defended Zuma and his friends, the Gupta family who were accused of using their proximity to the former president to divert state resources to their businesses.

Andile Mngxitama. Picture: XANDERLEIGH DOOKEY
Andile Mngxitama. Picture: XANDERLEIGH DOOKEY

They are at the centre of state capture allegations during Zuma's time in office, including the appointment of ministers and leaders of state-owned enterprises.

Zuma appeared to endorse the BLFin April when he called on people to vote for Mngxitama because “he wants issues to be resolved speedily”. The ANC was not pleased with Zuma’s remarks, which were seen as divisive and an attempt to undermine ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership.

Mngxitama was fired from the EFF and as its MP in 2015.

On Monday, he vowed to appeal against the Equality Court’s verdict that the BLF’s slogan of “land or death” constituted hate speech.

As vote counting hits the halfway mark on May 9 2019, SA's politicians comment on the election process thus far.

BLF spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp told Business Day that the party had not done enough to convince people to vote for them. He accused the media of making the BLF  “look crazy and so on”. 

ACM spokesperson Sipho Jack said they were still hoping to get a significant portion of the national vote. 

“It’s still early days because a large chunk of the votes has not yet been counted.

The ranks of the ATM, which came out in full support of the death penalty during its campaign, include former Eastern Cape Transport MEC Thandiswa Marawu.

The party was founded ATM was founded by the Twelve Apostles Church in Christ leader, Reverend Ceasar Nongqunga, who is a close Zuma ally.

During an international thanksgiving service in Durban in 2016, which Zuma attended, Nongqunga ordered his congregants to deposit their money into the failed VBS Mutual Bank. The bank was later looted of nearly R2bn .