Eastern Cape firmly behind Ramaphosa

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa
File picture: Katlholo Maifadi

The official nominations by the Eastern Cape ANC have been a major letdown for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s lobbyists, with branches overwhelmingly picking Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to be the next president of the party.

The election agency announced to delegates at the party’s provincial general council in East London yesterday that Ramaphosa had received 423 nominations, against just 89 for former African Union head Dlamini-Zuma.

The branch nomination results are a big blow for two key lobbyists for the Dlamini-Zuma campaign – Teris Ntutu of the Amathole region and Andile Lungisa of Nelson Mandela Bay – with the results of their regions indicating that they failed to make inroads at branch level.

Of the 83 branches in Amathole, 49 voted for Dlamini-Zuma and 34 for Ramaphosa.

The situation was even worse in Nelson Mandela Bay, where only eight branches voted for Dlamini- Zuma and 25 backed Ramaphosa.

Another Dlamini-Zuma lobbyist, Mfundo Bongela, also received disappointing results, with only six of his 28 branches in Joe Gqabi endorsing Dlamini-Zuma.

The rest endorsed Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma after the ANC’s national elective conference later this month.

The party’s second-biggest region in the country, OR Tambo, led the pack in endorsing Ramaphosa’s presidency, with 115 of 126 branches in the Mthatha-based region supporting him.

Three other presidential hopefuls, Zweli Mkhize, Mathews Phosa and Lindiwe Sisulu, received 10, three and one branch nomination respectively.

The province is also overwhelmingly behind Gwede Mantashe as national chairman, Senzo Mchunu, as secretary- general, Zingiswa Losi as deputy secretary and Paul Mashatile as treasurer-general.

It was neck-and-neck between David Mabuza and Mkhize for the deputy president position, with 190 and 193 branch nominations respectively.

Mkhize pleaded with ANC delegates to this month’s conference to disappoint the prophets of doom who were predicting that the 54th conference would be the deathbed of the ANC.

“We know that some have already written the obituary of the ANC, saying it will die at the conference. Let’s frustrate prophets,” he said.

He said the ANC’s greatest challenges were slate politics and factionalism, and to be able to address this, its leaders must first admit that they too were products of slates.

He was referring to the voting patterns of most conferences, including Polokwane and Mangaung.

Mkhize said the danger of slate politics was “that we lost the best minds”.

“We must all take responsibility for the success of the 54th conference,” he said. those

“It is upon us if we want it to succeed or collapse or we want people to fight.”

The provincial general council is being held at a time when a group led by former provincial chairman Phumulo Masualle is still awaiting the outcome of a dispute they registered on the legitimacy of the new Oscar Mabuyane-led provincial executive committee.

The ANC’s national executive committee assigned Sibusiso Ndebele to lead a task team to investigate the events leading to what is being called the “conference of chairs”, after miffed delegates to the October conference threw chairs at each other.

When the fight started, Masualle’s supporters left the conference venue and Mabuyane was subsequently elected chairman.

Ndebele is expected to table his report to the ANC’s national executive committee this weekend so that it can decide whether the PEC is legitimate or not. The decision could have far-reaching implications, considering the high court ruling in the ANC Free State case on Wednesday.

In that case, the court found that the Free State provincial executive council, whose term of office had expired, was illegitimate and nullified several branch general meetings and annual general meetings it had presided over.

The court ruled that the branch meetings would have to be held again for the branches to be able to take part in the elective conference.

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