Newly-elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday warned that the party’s national conference faces derailment should his supporters continue with their legal challenge for the missing 68 votes.
Ramaphosa pleaded with his supporters to embrace the current elected leadership.
This comes as supporters of former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu contest that their man should be the new secretary-general.
Mchunu narrowly lost that position to the Free State Premier Ace Magashule. At the heart of the dispute is a complaint that 68 votes had not been counted when delegates elected the party’s top six leaders. Magashule edged Mchunu by a mere 24 votes.
The 68 votes in contention were excluded to resolve a credentials dispute by the ANC electoral commission and party leaders. Mchunu complained to the steering committee as he believed votes would guarantee him the secretary-general position.
Mchunu lost the battle after only 15 of the 68 votes were deemed valid. After those were factored in, Magashule still beat him by nine votes.
Ramaphosa was forced to convince Mchunu supporters not to proceed with court action. His plea is contained in a leaked video during a caucus meeting with a group of disgruntled delegates.
“We mustn’t allow this conference to degenerate into controversy and legal suits that will nullify the result that we’ve come up with,” said Ramaphosa, adding that the integrity of the conference must be protected.
“… I have no doubt that the majority of our members want an ANC that subscribes to the values set out in our constitution, the values of the founding fathers and mothers of our movement.”
The faction aligned to Magashule had threatened to call for a fresh round of voting for the entire top six should Mchunu insist that the recount of the 68 votes only apply to the secretary-general post.
The threat to seek a court ruling on the matter also came after former party president Jacob Zuma chastised ANC members who took the movement to court over internal disputes.
Zuma argued that the court cases and subsequent adverse rulings were eroding the authority of the party.
However, former secretary-general and now party chairperson Gwede Mantashe holds a different view, saying that members should be able to seek the assistance of the courts should internal mechanisms fail.