With less than a month to go until the ANC’s December elective conference and branch nominations for leadership positions scheduled to close this weekend, support for Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma appears almost even.
Former African Union Commission chairperson Dlamini-Zuma appears to be in the lead in KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and North West. ANC deputy president Ramaphosa has dominated nominations in the Eastern Cape, the Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
[Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (some of whose supporters are pictured above) is the favourite in three key provinces. (Rajesh Jantilal/AFP)]
When it comes to nominations for party deputy president, some branches have apparently ignored the slates that have been suggested by their preferred leader.
Though Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza (the Dlamini-Zuma slate’s choice for deputy) and Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor (Ramaphosa’s choice) were nominated, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize have been given the nod by most Ramaphosa-supporting branches for the position of deputy president.
So far, more than 70% of ANC branches have submitted their nominations for leadership positions to be determined at next month’s crucial elective conference.
A total of 3 388 ANC branches are cleared to take part in the conference, which will have more than 4 000 delegates. A total of 90% of these delegates will come from branches, with the remainder split between leagues and provinces.
Here is a round-up of how the ANC’s provincial branch general meetings (BGMs) are progressing:
In the Western Cape, 40 of the 190 branches have not yet held their nomination meetings. Of the 150 that have concluded their BGMs, 120 nominated Ramaphosa and 26 nominated Dlamini-Zuma, a member of the province’s executive committee told the Mail & Guardian. Mathews Phosa and Sisulu received two nominations each.
ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs said the remaining branches all had large membership numbers and, with factional infighting, this made forming a quorum a difficult task: “There’s different groupings in branches with different factions. If there’s no agreement among them, one of them won’t bring their people and you won’t have a quorum.”
In the Northern Cape, 41 of the province’s 181 branches are said to have nominated Dlamini-Zuma and the other 140 have backed Ramaphosa.
The Eastern Cape’s nominations have been delayed in three regions by a dispute over the provincial leadership and claims that the newly elected leaders — who have officially endorsed Ramaphosa — are trying to micromanage branch meetings.
On Tuesday, the ANC’s Nelson Mandela Bay regional secretary, Themba Xathula, wrote to branches telling them not to hold BGMs because provincial administrator Mziyanda Danster had “run away” with the nomination packages — which contain nomination forms and verified membership lists.
Despite the leaders of the party’s Joe Gqabi, Amathole and Nelson Mandela Bay regions publicly backing Dlamini-Zuma, some branches there are understood to be rebelling against them.
The Eastern Cape has 591 branches that will be represented at the December conference, of which about 320 have nominated Ramaphosa, a senior provincial leader told the M&G on condition of anonymity, because nominations had not yet closed. Dlamini-Zuma is understood to have received about 100 nominations, with the rest split between Mkhize and Sisulu.
In KwaZulu-Natal, there are widely differing claims. ANC Youth League eThekwini secretary Kwazi Mshengu said that, as of Monday, 460 branches had nominated Dlamini-Zuma in KwaZulu-Natal. A total of 166 branches had nominated Ramaphosa and six had nominated Mkhize.
However, an alternative document — believed to have come from Ramaphosa supporters — showed Ramaphosa to have been nominated by 203 branches in the province, compared with 230 for Dlamini-Zuma and three for Mkhize.
Mshengu said they were “quite satisfied” with the BGM outcomes so far. “We are really quite happy. We have proven wrong the narrative that KwaZulu-Natal is split down the middle. We have always known that the grouping that was defeated in the 2015 conference, and which sustained itself as a faction, would support comrade Cyril,” he said.
Mshengu said the good showing for Dlamini-Zuma in the ANC’s eThe-kwini and Moses Mabhida regions was significant as those branches would be sending more than one delegate to the conference. Some, like ward 1 in eThekwini, would be sending as many as seven delegates because of its massive membership base. “When this is factored in, we are really well ahead at this stage,” he said.
In North West, of the 352 eligible branches, 247 have held their BGMs and 105 are still outstanding. A total of 128 branches are said to have nominated Dlamini-Zuma and 119 have backed Ramaphosa.
Previously trailing behind the deputy president, Dlamini-Zuma has now overtaken Ramaphosa in the largest region in the province, Bojanala. A total of 117 of the 150 branches there have now held their BGMs, with 65 nominating Dlamini-Zuma and 52 backing Ramaphosa.
However, Ngaka Modiri Molema remains a Ramaphosa region, and 20 of the 23 branches have held their BGMs have nominated the deputy president. The results of the other three are being disputed.
Eighteen branches are expected to hold their BGMs this weekend in Mpumalanga and so far Ramaphosa appears to be firmly in the lead — despite the widespread expectation that the province would deliver votes for Dlamini-Zuma.
So far, 149 of the 245 branches whose nominations have been consolidated have backed Ramaphosa, with 15 nominating Dlamini-Zuma and the remaining 81 nominations going to “unity” — reportedly after ANC Mpumalanga chairperson Mabuza instructed branches not to pick an individual but instead write “unity” on their nomination forms.
It appears that most branches in the Ekangala, Bohlabela and Ehlanzeni regions in Mpumalanga are backing Ramaphosa by a landslide. Meanwhile, the deputy president also leads in the Gert Sibande region, albeit by a small margin with 41 nominations, and with 39 nods going to “unity”.
As the ANC’s second-biggest province by membership, Mpumalanga will be represented by 736 delegates at the December conference.
The ANC’s Free State provincial executive is still finalising its BGM figures, but spokesperson Thabo Meeko confirmed that the province had passed the 80% mark and was confident that nominations would be completed by the end of the week.
Although he could not confirm exact nomination figures, party insiders told the M&G that the province had held about 218 BGMs, with Dlamini-Zuma taking a clear lead. She is believed to have been nominated by 132 branches, and Ramaphosa has been given the nod by 86 branches.
Dlamini-Zuma has emerged strongest in four of the province’s five regions: Mangaung, Xhariep, Thabo Mofutsanyana and Lejweleputswa.
The Fezile Dabi region in the north of the province was alleged to be showing support for Ramaphosa, despite it being the home region of ANC Free State chairperson Ace Magashule. The region houses the Metsimaholo municipality, where the South African Communist Party will soon be contesting a by-election against the ANC.
Ramaphosa supporters in the Free State conceded that they were falling behind in their campaign and claimed to have been disadvantaged by the alleged rigging of processes.
“It has not been easy,” said one Ramaphosa backer in the province, “because private security is hired to deal with those who have dissenting views. Some are removed from the list of members in good standing.”
Meeko said several disputes had been lodged, which would be addressed. “We can confirm that there are disputes. The ones that have been sent to the province are those we believe are just seeking clarity about guideline processes. But the process of resolving disputes will be done by both province and national. Some are not relevant and people are taking chances,” he said.
Gauteng has completed more than 76% of its BGMs, and Ramaphosa has maintained his lead in the province. He is said to have received about 309 nominations from the 349 convened BGMs, and Dlamini-Zuma has been nominated by only 40 branches.
The ANC’s Ekurhuleni regional executive, the only one in the province to endorse Dlamini-Zuma, failed to convince its branches of its position. Instead, branches have also showed their support for Ramaphosa, with 75 nominating him for the party presidency and 25 backing Dlamini-Zuma.
On the West Rand, Ramaphosa appears to have secured a clear victory after the region convened all its BGMs, with 85 nominating Ramaphosa and two Dlamini-Zuma.
More than 73% of BGMs have been concluded in Limpopo, where regional leaders said Ramaphosa is in the lead. The province is expected to emerge as a Ramaphosa stronghold.
The Vhembe region, which openly declared its support for the deputy president before the nominations process opened, said most of its branches were still toeing the line taken by its regional executive. Of the 116 BGMs convened, about 110 have nominated Ramaphosa and six Dlamini-Zuma.
A total of 75 BGMs have been convened in the Peter Mokaba region and 91 in Waterberg. Both regions claim that most of their branches nominated Ramaphosa, though they were not able to produce figures.
The Mopani region, where Dlamini-Zuma was expected to make inroads, concluded 104 of its BGMs. Regional secretary Makamu Basikopo claimed there was a “near 50-50 split”. A number of disputes have been lodged.
“In two branches, the disputes are actually a serious matter because they have torn off the attendance register. That’s in ward 13 in Phalaborwa and another ward in Giyani. And in both incidents, police cases have been opened,” Basikopo said.