The ANC in the Free State has nominated Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as its presidential candidate ahead of the party’s high stakes December conference.
The Free State is the first province to declare it’s backing for Dlamini-Zuma, adding to the nominations she has received from the youth and women’s leagues.
The party held an unexpected provincial general council (PGC) on Tuesday, where it tallied the votes of more than 200 branches that had held their BGMs and qualified to participate in the conference.
The decision to hold the PGC, which was initially expected to be convened at the weekend, has been met with anger by supporters of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in the province, who boycotted the event.
They are threatening to take legal action against the provincial executive committee (PEC) for convening the gathering with less than 24 hours notice.
“They made sure that only people who support Mama Nkosazana are there. We didn’t even know about it until a few hours before it started,” said one senior Ramaphosa lobbyist who chose to remain anonymous.
“But it’s fine, they leave us no choice but to seek the legal route. Our legal team is working on something right now”.
The Ramaphosa group also stayed away from the PGC pending a court ruling expected on Wednesday on the alleged illegitimacy of the PEC. They are hoping that the high court in Bloemfontein will rule that the PEC is an illegitimate structure that has no right to preside over party processes.
The most notable absence was that of deputy provincial chairperson Thabo Manyoni who is a known Ramaphosa supporter.
While other CR17 lobbyists claimed Manyoni was boycotting the PGC with them, chairperson Ace Magashule told delegates to ignore the rumour mongering.
“Thabo Manyoni sent a letter of apology, he couldn’t make it he is in Pretoria,” Magahsule said.
“Don’t worry about Manyoni, he is my brother. Don’t believe the stories you are told.”
Manyoni and Magashule, who is a Dlamini-Zuma supporter, will be going head-to-head for the position of chairperson at the Free State’s provincial elective conference which will be held between Friday and Sunday.
According to the provincial leadership today’s PGC was attended by 307 of the 409 voting delegates who would attend the national conference. It is likely that the majority of them belonged to branches that had nominated Dlamini-Zuma.
A full list of the Free State nominations:
- President: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
- Deputy president: David “DD” Mabuza
- Chairperson: Nathi Mthethwa
- Secretary-general: Ace Magashule
- Deputy secretary-general: Jessie Duarte
- Treasurer general: Maite Nkoana-Mashabane