It’s official: the ANC presidential race is a two-horse affair between Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as all other candidates have disappeared from the running list.
The other five candidates did not make it to the nomination finish line, leaving these two facing off in the party election.
If the nomination numbers are anything to go by, Ramaphosa should be ahead as his numbers were higher than Dlamini-Zuma’s, but it’s not so easy as the process has introduced complications for both of them.
The entire nomination process was a duel between the two political camps behind Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa received 1 469 nominations against Dlamini-Zuma’s 1 096.
Of the deputy president candidates, Mpumalanga’s David Mabuza got 1 128 and Lindiwe Sisulu 619.
It’s horse-trading that will help either Dlamini-Zuma or Ramaphosa to win at the end of the day.
This is because some of the presidential candidates decided to withdraw from the race and that means their votes will definitely go to one of these two.
The nominations came amid high drama during closed sessions where the proposal of expanding the party’s top structure was taken off the table, leaving Nomvula Mokonyane, who had done a lot of lobbying, out of the structure.
The Citizen was told that all deals, including to have two deputy presidents to accommodate the losing side in the interests of uniting the party, were called off, making it a winner-takes-all contest.
KwaZulu-Natal delegates supporting Dlamini-Zuma were said to be angry and suspicious that Ramaphosa and his group had funded and backed the court cases that dealt her campaign a major blow.
“The last straw was when the courts nullified the KZN and Free State provincial executive committees, including the 35 branches that could not vote,” said a source from the KZN delegation.
Ramaphosa’s lobby dismissed the allegations as rumours. The Citizen also understands that the Mkhize withdrew his nomination after striking a deal to throw his support behind one of the factions.
Mkhize is said to have been trying to lobby for a position on Ramaphosa’s slate as late as the early hours of yesterday morning, but was rejected.
“The problem is that he was offered the position of deputy president on Ramaphosa’s team and he rejected it. It’s too late now to say he wants a position when deals have already been made and branches have been lobbied,” said a senior ANC leader.
The contestants for the position of national chairperson are Gwede Mantashe for the CR-17 camp against Nathi Mthethwa, who is supported by the NDZ-17 group.
Tomorrow morning the new ANC secretary-general will be either Senzo Mchunu or Ace Magashule.
Jessie Duarte is up against Zingisa Losi to be the new deputy secretary-general and Paul Mashatile is contesting against Maite Nkoana Mashabane for the treasurer-general position.
The nomination process was preceded by a drama among delegates who disagreed with the voting procedure as recommended by the Elexions Agency for the 80 additional members of the national executive committee. The delegates felt strongly that a list of names should be drawn up.
Even the interventions of outgoing secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and NEC member David Mahlobo did not help.
Tony Yengeni took to the platform to add fuel to the fire when he said the electoral agency should not dictate to the conference as it was the highest decision-making body of the ANC. After an hour of arguing, the matter was shelved for later.