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Count, and count again – electoral committee defends ‘transparent’ process to pick Top Seven

Count, and count again – electoral committee defends ‘transparent’ process to pick Top Seven
Delegates united in song before the announcement of the results at the 55th National Conference on 19 December 2022. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

The ANC Electoral Committee, led by former party deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, has had the arduous task of monitoring the highly contested leadership race, and believes its processes ‘can stand up to scrutiny’.

The election ballots for the ANC’s Top Seven positions were counted several times to ensure that all observers were satisfied that the numbers were correct.

This was according to ANC Electoral Committee secretary Chief Livhuwani Matsila who said the committee’s processes could stand up to scrutiny. 

Matsila and the committee have faced increased pressure over the past few months, while he has also been accused of bias towards re-elected party president Cyril Ramaphosa. 

zuma kzn mkhize

Disappointed Zweli Mkhize supporters at the conference on 19 December 2022. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Matsila received a backlash over his close friendship with Ramaphosa following an article in City Press earlier this year, in which he endorsed his second term as the governing party’s head.

Talking about the elections, Matsila said: “Everything was transparent, the records are there, the spreadsheets are there, so anyone who wants information, whether it be individuals or the courts, we should be able to furnish them to their satisfaction. There is no basis for contestations over the Top Seven results,” he said. 

“I would not say it is a lot [of criticism], it is a few. So, again our processes can stand up to scrutiny. The acceptance of the results by the conference will serve to demonstrate that there is nothing irregular about what we do.”

Read in Daily Maverick: “Zuma’s influence on the wane as KZN fails to deliver at ANC conference

“There was no recount for that, that is just a false rumour by someone who wants to tarnish the process. The conference has unanimously approved the outcome of the election of the Top Seven.

Delegates sing before the announcement of the results. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

“When we do the counting of votes, we do that in front of provincial observers and we allow provinces to nominate two observers that can take turns, we also do that with the leagues. So, if any of the observers feel like the counting of particular sets of ballots needs to be recounted, we did that, but that is not a dispute. I cannot tell you how many times we would have counted, we would have to recount as much as possible so that everyone is satisfied, that is the purpose,” he said. 

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The ANC’s Electoral Committee has cracked down on members of the party contesting for leadership positions. The rules state that those who have been criminally charged will be asked not to run for positions. 

The structure’s rules have, however, been met with dissatisfaction by many, who have been disqualified throughout the leadership nomination process.

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Former ANC Women’s League leader Bathabile Dlamini, ANC veteran Tony Yengeni and ANC Eastern Cape executive member Andile Lungisa were disqualified. However, in the case of Yengeni, the courts reversed a decision, while a decision was taken by conference to allow Dlamini to contest a national executive position. 

Delegates at the 55th National Conference on 19 December 2022. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

A group of disgruntled ANC members dragged the committee to court over the National Executive Committee (NEC) nomination list. They demanded raw data for the nominations and questioned the criteria the party used to disqualify members. Their court bid did not succeed.

Matsila believes the party must make efforts to better educate its members about the electoral rules and processes to avoid unnecessary conflict. 

“The most pressing challenge would have been around the misunderstanding around the ANC constitution and the rules. Sometimes arising out of ignorance and sometimes out of deliberate efforts to tarnish the integrity of the process. What needs to be done is that we need to  intensify political education around our members, so that they truly understand the rules,” he said. DM


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