Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma bagged the bulk of the branch nominations from her home province KwaZulu-Natal yesterday, but she still lags her main rival, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
The province gave her 433 nominations to Ramaphosa’s 193. There were 56 abstentions.
But despite these gains, she failed to outdo her main rival. Ramaphosa extended his lead earlier in the day when his home province, Limpopo, handed him 391 branch nominations compared with Dlamini-Zuma’s 104.
The two meetings drew the branch nomination process and provincial general councils in the nine provinces to a close, but there could be reruns of disputed meetings, which have to be settled by Saturday.
The ANC Youth League, Women’s League and Veterans League, as well as the national executive committee (NEC) and the provincial executive committees, will also cast votes for their preferred candidates.
Both the women’s and youth leagues have already pledged their support to Dlamini-Zuma.
Five of the nine provincial committees are expected to back Ramaphosa, to Dlamini-Zuma’s four, and the NEC is split evenly between the two candidates.
After the nomination process, Ramaphosa has gained a clear lead in terms of branch nominations.
The Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma camps are now crunching numbers in terms of delegates who will cast their ballots at the national elective conference, which kicks off on December 16.
However, Ramaphosa’s lead in terms of the consolidated branch nominations does not guarantee a win from votes by the actual delegates attending the conference. There have been allegations of factions paying voting delegates secretly.
Dlamini-Zuma received an overwhelming endorsement from KwaZulu-Natal, with David Mabuza nominated as her deputy, Ace Magashule as secretary-general, Jessie Duarte as deputy secretary-general, Nomvula Mokonyane as treasurer, and Nathi Mthethwa as chairman.
This closely mirrored the nominations from other Dlamini-Zuma-aligned provinces, the Free State and North West.
Limpopo branches gave Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu the thumbs up for the position of deputy president with 189 votes – sidelining Ramaphosa’s preferred candidate for the post, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor.
Last month, Ramaphosa announced his slate of running mates for the top five ANC positions – a move that was slammed by both his supporters and detractors as they believed it undermined the powers of branches to select their own candidates.
Other nominees endorsed by Limpopo were outgoing ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe as national chairman, with 384 votes and former ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairman Senzo Mchunu for secretary-general, with 379 votes.
ANC Gauteng provincial chairman Paul Mashatile received 377 votes for the position of treasurergeneral.
The Limpopo provincial general council was, however, not without its fair share of tension, with delegates from the Mopani region – purported to be pro-Dlamini-Zuma – getting into a quarrel over the nomination process and outcomes.