Lamola suggests someone impersonated him in ‘CR17 audio leak’

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola. Picture: Tracey Adams / African News Agency / ANA

The audio seems to implicate ANC leaders in vote buying during the party’s elective conference in 2017.

A leaked voice recording purporting to be that Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola has been circulating on social media, prompting those who know him to defend him against the accusations that have ensued following the video.

The video is apparently supposed to prove that votes were bought at the ANC’s Nasrec elective conference in 2017, which saw Cyril Ramaphosa take the ANC president position, beating Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

In the audio, a man can be heard talking on the phone, seemingly recorded by the people he was with. He mentions then deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and a certain Nthabiseng, who he says is unreliable.

“This lady, she’s wasting my time. She’s not arriving, she said she was coming but she has been coming forever and Mpumalanga has a caucus now. NDZ’s thing has a lot of people now and I’ve been telling DP to speed things up and now he has sent the wrong person.

“He sent Nthabiseng and I’m busy looking for her left and right. I’ve been looking for this person for a long time, I should be sleeping now. She said she was at the entrance but I stood there for almost an hour and she didn’t arrive. Comrades are not reliable and this thing is going to cost us. But I also told DP, I told Cyril not to give it to Nthabiseng because she is not reliable.

“Are you still there? Okay, I’ll come to Braamfontein.”

While some have pointed out the similarity in the voice with that of Lamola’s, others said it was not him.

The minister only took to social media to share a dictionary entry of the word ‘impersonation’.

Deputy President David Mabuza earlier this year denied that he had “sold out” at the ANC’s Nasrec elective conference in 2017.

The deputy president was campaigning in KwaZulu-Natal in January ahead of the ruling party’s manifesto launch when he was asked to comment on allegations that he had betrayed Dlamini-Zuma to vote for Ramaphosa.

Mabuza said it was “impossible”. He said that what had happened at Nasrec was a result of branch delegates who listened to his message of unifying the ruling party. According to the deputy president, Ramaphosa’s win had unified the party.

“What do you think you sell? I mean, I don’t imagine how in a conference of more than 5,000 people, do you think I know how all of these people voted? It’s impossible. I only preached for unity and what prevailed is unity. That means the branch delegates heard my voice, heard my story to say it looks like this person is making sense because because if we did not go the way we went, we would probably be talking about the ANC who is limping,” he told EWN in a video shared on social media.

According to a report in the Mail & Guardian, several ANC members in provinces were angry at Mabuza for unexpectedly apparently backing Ramaphosa on the “unity” slate at the elective conference.

Mabuza had been on Dlamini-Zuma’s slate as deputy president, but his unexpected decision to apparently support Ramaphosa gave Ramaphosa the edge over his rival. Mabuza maintained that he merely allowed Mpumalanga branches and delegates to support whomever they preferred, but the Mpumalanga ANC reportedly became highly divided ever since.

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