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Accusations, chaos and a vote that will go ahead

Despite legal interventions, finger-pointing and accusations, the vote for the presidency of the ANC is a case of the winner takes all. 

The process of verifying delegates got underway on Sunday morning amidst heated debates. Most of the ruckus comes from the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Free State whose Provincial Executive Committees (PEC) have been collapsed by the courts of law. The North West has also seen some branches nullified by the courts. In practice, this means the national secretariat office must take over the administration duties from the collapsed PEC and comb through their branch list to double check if they meet all the constitutional imperatives. This is a laborious, but necessary process to avoid another legal challenge, and/or embarrassment later on that might have a bearing on the legal status of the national conference.

The National Executive Committee (NEC), the party’s highest decision-making body in between congresses, on its last meeting yesterday – before dissolution (once the conference is opened and credentials called, the NEC is dissolved and the sitting congress becomes the highest decision-making body) – resolved to grant dissolved PECs and branches only an observer status. This means they’ll not be allowed to vote. However, a PEC member who is also branch delegate may vote as the delegate. So the hullabaloo about Provincial Secretary of the dissolved KZN PEC Sihle Zikalala wearing a voter tag is misinformed. It is estimated that this would cost the NDZ17 camp about one hundred votes, because it is mostly affects their group.

It is also reported that the option to postpone the congress to next June, by granting the current conference only consultative powers, was vehemently rejected by both camps. The NDZ17 camp is also said to have proposed a change in the voting process, to give those who lose the vote an opportunity to contest the lower position. This was also rejected by the NEC, meaning the contesting parties will be going for broke – the winner takes all and accommodate members of their own slate, rather mixing with the opposition.

Both sides are currently making accusations about bogus and ghost branches. But Spotlight Africa has gained reliable information that the secretariat staff from the national have used a fine comb to go through the branch. They deny any bogus branches exist. They put the providential tally, now being verified by the independent voting commission as this:

Spotlight has learnt the following from insiders at the conference:

There is a total of 4911 registered voters, 4776 of which have collected their tags. Therefore, 135 comrades (voting delegates) did not collect their tags. If the tags are still collected, it is unlikely that they will change the forecast drastically. The current voting prediction is that Cyril Ramaphosa will get 2550 votes (53%) and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma 2226 (47%).

If the prediction is accurate, Ramaphosa will win with a difference of 324 votes. By all accounts it seems as if it will be a tight call. SA.

* The opinions expressed here by Spotlight.Africa contributors and editors are their own and not official statements of the Society of Jesus in South Africa or of the Catholic Church unless explicitly stated.


  1. Thank you to the Spotlight Africa team for guiding us in this process, especially to Mr Ntabeni. I am ashamed to admit that I was clueless on the processes, and will henceforth think twice about dismissing these things. It does seem more vibrant and interesting that what is mostly reported in the main media.