South Africa


ANC’s electoral committee to probe complaint that its national conference was marred by vote-buying

ANC’s electoral committee to probe complaint that its national conference was marred by vote-buying
Gwede Mantashe with Former President Kgalema Motlanthe at the ANC’s 55th General Conference held at Nasrec Expo.Photo:Felix Dlangamandla/Daily Maverick

The ANC’s electoral committee, chaired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, is set to investigate allegations of vote-buying by party president Cyril Ramaphosa and national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, among others, at the ANC’s 55th national conference at Nasrec just over a week ago.

The latest drama to rock the governing party comes after a KwaZulu-Natal delegate wrote to the electoral committee requesting that it probe “the alleged infringement of the buying of votes and/or the offering of rewards for votes during the 55th ANC elective conference”.  

The delegate, Thabang Mdletshe, is a member of a branch in eThekwini. Once investigations have been concluded, he wants the committee to report the matter to the Hawks.

Mdletshe claims Ramaphosa, Mantashe and Bejani Chauke – who failed in his bid to become the party’s treasurer-general – used cash to influence how delegates voted.

In an interview with eNCA (ANC National Conference | In conversation with Gwede Mantashe), Mantashe admitted that the use of money by candidates seeking to climb the leadership ladder was a serious matter.

“Can I tell you, if there is one battle that we almost lost, it’s the battle and fight against money … In the past, we had this thing that money is used and so forth. This time around, you find people at branch level, at regional level, phoning you … I have this number of delegates, please give me so much money,” said Mantashe in the televised interview. 

Asked for an estimate of the amount of money involved, he responded: “It depends. One person phoned me and said: ‘I have 140 delegates, give me R100,000.’ 

“And I tell him, ‘you see, if I had R100,000 I would go to an auction and buy sheep or cattle. I wouldn’t give it to you’.”

Mantashe was also asked about Ramaphosa’s alleged involvement in cash-for-votes during his 2017 election campaign, and how the party would deal with this situation when the president himself had faced similar allegations.

“I’m not sure … I think he scaled down this year. Last time he was in trouble about that. But today it was more complex because it was widespread. For example, there was a man that was campaigning for treasurer-general. 

“He worked in the Office of the President. We raised our concern, saying this person is in your office … he is going around buying votes. Please deal with that issue.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, he was not elected treasurer-general of the ANC. But if you go around displaying money, it’s the worst way of dealing with things. Then you spoil these delegates – when they talk to you and you don’t give them money, they think that you are sick,” said Mantashe.     

Ramaphosa has consistently denied buying votes during his 2017 campaign for ANC president.

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Secretary for the electoral committee Livhuwani Matsila confirmed receipt of Mdletshe’s complaint and said the committee would look into it once it returns from recess on 5 January.   

Responding to the complaint in a letter, Matsila said, “… the electoral committee shall ensure that your complaint is thoroughly dealt with, and you shall be kept informed”. 

“In the meantime, we humbly request that you furnish the electoral committee with any available evidence at your disposal, in addition to the televised interview, to support these allegations.” 

Matsila said the electoral committee would afford all those mentioned in the complaint a fair opportunity to respond to the allegations.

Matsila told Daily Maverick that in the absence of evidence, the committee could possibly summon Gwede Mantashe, or ask him to furnish it with evidence of vote-buying that he mentioned on national television.

Political analyst Sandile Swana said that as damning as the allegations were, it was unlikely that drastic steps would be taken because, if there was a willingness to tackle the matter head-on, the ANC would have done so in 2017 when Ramaphosa was first accused of buying votes.  

“I do not expect the people … now in charge of the elections process to take any serious steps, more especially that the candidate [Ramaphosa] that they wanted to win has won the elections … by honest or dishonest means.” 

If the allegations are verified, Swana said it meant “the outcome of the election was not clean and the legitimacy of the winner is in question”. 

The Sunday Times reported on how delegates from certain branches were “offered money” to vote in favour of certain candidates. 

Speaking to reporters at the elective conference, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said: “We’ve urged the media that, where they have gotten information about cadres who are doing such activities, they must immediately report such to the relevant steering committee of the conference, and that committee will take the necessary steps.” 

Several leaders had previously raised concerns over vote-buying at the party’s conferences. Weeks before the 55th conference, former president Jacob Zuma said: “The organisation, its policies and politics have been consumed by a patronage network which is characterised by corrupt hands exchanging money.   

“These corrupt hands are making comrades buy votes for positions instead of being elected fairly and correctly. This leads to leaders being elected for the wrong reasons … They are, therefore, at the core of corruption in the ANC.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Zuma rips into Ramaphosa’s ‘vote-buying’ to secure ANC… 

Former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, who lost his bid to become party president, had also warned of vote-buying, saying it undermined the will of ANC branches.  

“The ANC is not for sale. It does not belong to those who abuse their position for self-enrichment … We need to end all gatekeeping and the use of money,” said Mkhize. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Paddy Ross says:

    Interesting that there are currently no comments. That suggests to me that DM readers assume that virtually every ‘vote’ at an ANC election has been bought in one way or another so this article is not really newsworthy.

  • Thé ANC has not been involved in any free and fair election since 1994. One of its major sins of incumbency is to use public funds to buy votes. No other party does so. Accordingly the voting is neither free nor fair. Buying votes at Nasrec is a repeat of 2017. This is not news , but it is a poor reflection of the ANC’s commitment to constitutionalism and the rule of law.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Whose cash did they use to buy votes? Taxpayers or from the Sofa bank! LOL! If it’s from the Sofa Bank, it’s probably come by way of Dubai and it would not surprise any of us if it’s from the Guptas!

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