South Africa

#ANCDecides2017: ‘Missing’ votes could tip SG position in favour of Mchunu

By Carien Du Plessis 19 December 2017

Newly-elected ANC secretary general Ace Magashule’s joy might be short-lived if some of his detractors get their way in the ANC conference today. By CARIEN DU PLESSIS.

Lobbyists for newly-elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa will be pushing the Electoral Commission for answers on what they say are missing votes when the ANC’s 54th national conference resumes today at the Nasrec Expo Centre.

This could “drastically and positively” change the outcome of Monday’s party elections in favour of former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu.

When the results for the party’s new top six leadership were announced last night, there were 68 “missing” ballots in the election of the secretary general position which they would like to query.

Free State premier Ace Magashule had a victory margin of a slim 24 votes – so slim in fact, that former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu’s supporters celebrated and carried him to the stage after the results were announced. There he was told that it was actually Magashule who won.

The “missing” votes came about as follows. There were 4,776 registered delegates. Magashule got 2,360 votes, Mchunu got 2,336. Eight abstentions were announced, and there were four spoilt votes.

This adds up to 4,708 votes, which leaves 68 votes unaccounted for.

ANC chief parliamentary whip Jackson Mthembu told Daily Maverick they will be raising the issue of the “quarantined votes” in conference plenary on Tuesday.

Asked whether this would make a difference to the result, Mthembu was non-committal but implied that it might. “It is for the Electoral Commission to explain,” he said.

Early on Tuesday morning Mthembu sent out a whatsapp to Ramaphosa lobbyists with a to-do list for the day:

Comrades our list of additional members has continuity of serving good NEC members, it has new NEC comrades from all provinces, it has a serious component of young people and 50% women representatives. We will distribute a list of our 80 NEC additionals to all delegates at the 9.30am delegates assembly. Our CR17 national delegates assembly will be held at our regular meeting venue next to the statutes . We will also report on the 68 votes that were not included in the report of the Electoral Commission at Plenary which when included will change the numbers of Comrade Senzo (SG) drastically and positively.”

The matter is expected to be discussed in a closed session.

The conference steering committee, consisting of the office of the secretary-general (now occupied by Magashule and re-elected deputy secretary Jessie Duarte and the provincial secretaries) is set to meet on the missing votes on Tuesday morning.

Some delegates are claiming that Gauteng already raised objections before the announcement of the results that the 68 votes had not been accounted for by the Elections Commission. They say the steering committee was not informed of this on Monday, and they vowed to also take up this issue in the plenary session today.

This dispute goes back to the row over the participation in the conference of some regions in KwaZulu-Natal that supported Mchunu. DM

This article was updated at 10.13am.

Photo: Newly-elected ANC secretary general Ace Magashule greets newly- elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday, 18 December. Photo: Daily Maverick

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