The soul of wit
22 January 2018 21:45 (South Africa)
South Africa

#ANCdecides2017 Analysis: In their hands - the 4,776 delegates who now choose the next president by secret vote

  • Carien du Plessis
    carien du plessis
    Carien du Plessis

    Jill of all trades but really, mistress of none, Carien has of late been a political tourist chasing elections and summits in various parts of the world, especially in Africa. 

    After spending her student days at political rallies in South Africa right through the country's first democratic elections in 1994, and after an extended working holiday in London, Carien started working for newspapers full-time in 2003. She's pretty much had her share of reporting on South African politics, attending gatherings and attracting trolls, but still finds herself attracted to it like a moth to a veld fire. 

    Her ultimate ambition in life is to become a travelling chocolate writer of international fame.

  • South Africa
Photo: Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC's Elective Conference at Nasrec. Photo: Daily Maverick

The number of votes a camp would need has gotten lower, as the stakes are getting higher – and it’s probably Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa who is smiling again after this round as the ANC’s 54th national conference gets off the ground. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.

As credentials have been adopted and the number of votes needed to win the presidency has dropped by 489 from 2,879 to 2,389. While it is difficult to say which camps the majority of the “lost” 981 candidates belong to, it’s possible to look at provincial figures to try and hazard a guess as to where things might be standing as the conference finally gets under way.

At least 54 of the delegates are from the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provincial executive committees, which have been disqualified from voting at the gathering because the conferences where they were originally elected have been botched. These two provinces were amongst the biggest campaigners for ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

On top of that, branches in an entire region in the North West – majority Dlamini Zuma supporters – as well as 17 in the Free State – ditto – have been disqualified. Deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte at a Sunday morning briefing said 35 branches from the North West were disqualified. Subtract maybe another 100 or 150 delegates for the Free State and the North West – exact figures haven’t been obtained on the number of delegates from here yet.

Duarte dismissed earlier reports that there were attempts to inflate numbers.

The total number of voting delegates has dropped from 5,757 to 4,776. The most common reason for this is that their branches did not manage to get enough members together for a meeting to actually nominate a valid delegate.

The original number of branch delegates allocated by means of a formula worked out according to the number of members each branch had (100 members and up qualified a branch for at least one delegate, with an additional delegate for each 250 members thereafter), was 4,723, or 90% of the total delegates.

The final picture is presented of delegates who will vote. Photo: Facebook.

NDZ provinces biggest losers

The biggest loser of delegates have been the provinces that nominated ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for president.

The combined number of delegates of Mpumalanga, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State went down with 9.6%, dropping with 246 from a combined total of 2,553. Of these provinces, the North West was the biggest loser, with 92 delegates down, possibly due to the Bojanala issue. About 82% of branches nominated Dlamini Zuma here.

The second biggest loser was KwaZulu-Natal, where 56.3% of branches nominated Dlamini Zuma, while Free Sate (70.4% for NDZ) lost 60 delegates. Mpumalanga only lost 28 delegates.

The two PECs that lost their voting rights also come from this group – KwaZulu-Natal and Free State.

CR provinces also lost out

Provinces that nominated Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for president only lost 7.3%, or 159 out of 2178 of their branch delegates. None of these provinces, however, faced court battles where their PECs or any branches were disqualified.

Limpopo, Ramaphosa’s home province where 76% of the branches nominated him, was the biggest loser, with 76 delegates down, followed by the Western Cape, where 46 out of a meagre allowance of 182 delegates fell along the wayside;75.6% of branches nominated Ramaphosa here. The Eastern Cape (70.4% of branches for Ramaphosa) lost 16 delegates from their original allocation, and Gauteng 17 (78.6% of branches nominated Ramaphosa). The Northern Cape did the best, only losing four out of their 197 allocated delegates.

The leagues and the rest

None of the candidates from the leagues or from the national executive committee were disqualified, mostly because the process of nominating these delegates were disqualified. The women’s league, youth league and veterans league have 60 delegates each, the NEC has 86, while the seven PECs that will be voting have 27 delegates each.

Balance of forces?

It’s tough to make predictions on a possible election outcome based solely on these figures, because it’s as yet unclear whether the 981 “lost” delegates came from branches that support Dlamini Zuma and Ramaphosa.

Estimates from Ramaphosa’s camp have him with a lead of just over 300 votes, but given that these estimates are often slightly inflated, the race is still very close.

It’s likely, though, that before an afternoon of nominations and elections, the Ramaphosa caucus will be singing a few early, but cautious, victory songs. DM

Additional reporting by Nkateko Mabasa

Photo: Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa at the ANC Elective Conference at Nasrec. Photo: Daily Maverick

  • Carien du Plessis
    carien du plessis
    Carien du Plessis

    Jill of all trades but really, mistress of none, Carien has of late been a political tourist chasing elections and summits in various parts of the world, especially in Africa. 

    After spending her student days at political rallies in South Africa right through the country's first democratic elections in 1994, and after an extended working holiday in London, Carien started working for newspapers full-time in 2003. She's pretty much had her share of reporting on South African politics, attending gatherings and attracting trolls, but still finds herself attracted to it like a moth to a veld fire. 

    Her ultimate ambition in life is to become a travelling chocolate writer of international fame.

  • South Africa

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