Numbers game keeps shifting at ANC elective conference
A day-and-a-half into the ANC’s national conference, key battles have been fought, lost and won by the factions aligned to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The presidential race remains nail-bitingly close. Both sides held large caucuses during the conference at which they conducted head counts of their voting delegates.
Both sides declared that they had sufficient numbers to secure a victory.
The running battles at the conference provide a more objective assessment of who could emerge as the winner.
Most of the losses before the conference were wrought on the Dlamini-Zuma camp and the Ramaphosa side has achieved key victories.
A key victory for Dlamini-Zuma was an endorsement by Mpumalanga ANC chairman David Mabuza days before the conference started. He brought the second-largest delegation to the conference and has long vacillated over whether to support her.
Mabuza admitted to his regional leaders last Thursday that his attempt at forming a "unity" ticket had failed and that he would accept nomination as Dlamini-Zuma’s deputy.
The court victories by ANC members in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State went in favour of the Ramaphosa camp and a special national executive committee meeting on Friday went decidedly in their favour.
This was after the national executive council decided to block the affected branch and provincial executive committee delegates from voting at the conference to prevent any further litigation.
Insiders said that Dlamini-Zuma’s camp had no choice but to concede, while her backers insisted that they were happy to do so as their candidate had a significant numerical advantage over Ramaphosa — meaning that the handful of her delegates barred were immaterial to the outcome of the election.
The fight over credentials had been expected to be lengthy and fraught with difficulty. The process had initially been delayed due to the changes required by the judgments.
Despite serious contestation during the debate over credentials, they were adopted in less than two hours. In the end, 4,776 delegates were present and had registered to vote.
ANC deputy secretary-
general Jessie Duarte confirmed that the delegates and provincial executive committee members affected by the court judgments had been removed from the voters roll. They were largely aligned to Dlamini-Zuma.
The Ramaphosa camp was boosted in the credentials process as delegates from two provinces backing him, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, who were previously excluded were added to the voters roll.
President Jacob Zuma’s call for two deputy presidents of the party was shot down
President Jacob Zuma’s call at the policy conference for two deputy presidents of the party was shot down by delegates.
Zuma is backing Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him. This could be seen as a victory for the Ramaphosa camp and a loss to the Dlamini-Zuma camp.
Dlamini-Zuma’s backers were pushing for two deputy secretaries-general, but delegates were undecided and a decision was taken to hold a secret ballot on this.
However, the proposal by Zuma was withdrawn after much wrangling. A two-thirds majority is needed for an amendment to the ANC’s constitution to be adopted.