The race for the presidency of the ANC is shaping up to be a tight two-horse race between deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and former African Union Commission head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The other presidential contenders, including Mathews Phosa, Jeff Radebe, Lindiwe Sisulu, Baleka Mbete and Zweli Mkhize, are all competing for a distant third.
City Press this week looked at two provinces with contrasting fortunes for Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma.
With 331 of the 806 branches having sat for their branch general meetings (BGMs) over the past weeks in KwaZulu-Natal, Dlamini-Zuma has taken an early lead with 260 branch nominations and Ramaphosa getting the nod from 69 branches. Former KZN chairperson and current party treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize — who was touted as a dark horse in the contest for the top position — has only received nominations from two branches.
KZN is the ANC’s largest province going to the December conference and many believe getting majority support is key to the success for anyone aiming for top position.
Despite the apparent setback from the latest figures, Mkhize’s main foot soldier Alpha Shelembe has put on a brave face, insisting that the campaign is going according to plan. His branch, ward 18 in Moses Mabhida region, with parts of Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas, managed to get him nominated for deputy president.
“We read the balance of forces carefully and realised that all over the region, and even the province for that matter, there is an obsession towards who becomes president, but our focus is the presidency and branches are not hostile towards this,” said Shelembe on Friday evening.
Mkhize’s branch ward 14, that has Pietermaritzburg suburb Willowfontein, will hold its BGM this afternoon. Shelembe also conceded that the Eastern Cape had probably been lost; citing misleading information from some provincial executive committee members who had told the Mkhize camp that the province was behind him.
While eThekwini region – the ANC’s most powerful region in KZN and South Africa in terms of numbers – appears to be fully behind Dlamini-Zuma, the strife-torn Ward 32 in the region is yet to sit for its BGM. The branch, which incorporates Durban central, is Dlamini-Zuma’s branch and its executive committee was dissolved by the region.
“As branch leader she failed us when the region imposed an individual for a councillor. She could have spoken as a branch member and, more importantly, as a leader, but she did not and to many of us her silence and indifference demonstrated a lack of leadership,” said one branch member. She said while there were “sprinkles of support for Dlamini” the general membership in the branch supported Ramaphosa.
Meanwhile, Nhlanhla Mahlaba from Emalahleni region, where Ramaphosa received 13 nominations to Dlamini-Zuma’s six, told City Press on Friday their support was based on principle and not hostility to Dlamini-Zuma. Regions who have been known to support former premier Senzo Mchunu, such as Abaqulusi and Inkosi Bhambatha, have so far endorsed Ramaphosa. — City Press correspondent
In this province, Ramaphosa is leading in four regions – Vhembe, Sekhukhune, Mopani and Peter Mokaba — with Waterberg region still pending.
According to the Limpopo summary of nominations seen by City Press, in Vhembe, Ramaphosa received 71 nominations while Dlamini-Zuma got three. In Sekhukhune the deputy president received 84 nominations while the former African Union Commission chairperson only got nine. This also included the embarrassment of Public Service Minister Faith Muthambi, when her branch in Ward 14 in Vhembe rejected Dlamini-Zuma and voted for Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa’s supporters also made their intention clear when they won the race in the troubled Mopani with a close margin of 34 nominations to 21, while 73 branches are still outstanding. In Peter Mokaba region, which includes Polokwane, Dlamini-Zuma only managed to get one nomination against Ramaphosa’s 36.
ANC provincial secretary Nocks Seabi said the nomination processes would be completed next week, confirming that Waterberg region was indeed still outstanding.
Seabi warned about false nominations being sent out. “People must allow the ANC space to deal with their nominations and wait for the process to be completed.” — Mpho Dube. — AFP