Zamani Saul elected Northern Cape chairperson after shock withdrawal by Sylvia Lucas

Zamani Saul has been elected chairperson of the ANC in the Northern Cape at the party’s provincial conference in Colesberg, after Premier Sylvia Lucas and her allies declined all nominations for the top position, but there are already plans to contest the outcome of the conference.

Saul was elected chairperson while Bentley Vass was elected his deputy. Deshi Ngxanga is the new secretary and Maruping Lekwene the deputy secretary. Fufe Makatong was elected as treasurer.

Lucas, Alvin Botes, Kenny Mmoiemang, David Rooi and Patience Tshangela declined to contest against Saul’s slate.

Speaking after declining her nomination, Lucas said to contest against Saul would have been an “exercise in futility”.

She now plans to ask the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) to review the legitimacy of the gathering, after her supporters unsuccessfully provided evidence of what the premier termed “membership cloning” and delegates from “parallel branches” taking party in the conference.

“The next step will definitely be to request the NEC to review the whole process leading up to this, and even in this conference,” Lucas said.

“There are still a lot of things that have not been corrected and unfortunately we are just hitting a brick wall [at the conference],” she added.

But the outgoing treasurer did wish Saul well in his new role.

“The fact that we contested doesn’t make us enemies. Comrade Zamani is one of the comrades I most respect in the ANC and provincial executive committee. It’s just a pity that sometimes you become subjective so that things cannot be addressed on a fair footing,” Lucas said.

Sauli dismissed the objections raised by Lucas and her allies.

“There was a protracted process, due diligence was done and each and every delegate that is here is a legitimate delegate, which is a product of a branch general meeting and auditing and verification of branches,” he told the Mail & Guardian.

Asked if he anticipates a challenge to the conference’s legitimacy, Saul said:

“There’s absolutely no way that can happen, but she is within her right to [ask for review at NEC.”

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Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.

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