Votes dispute nearly spoils Cyril's big day

Newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa during a walkabout at the party's 54th  national elective conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg yesterday. The conference ends today.
Newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa during a walkabout at the party's 54th national elective conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg yesterday. The conference ends today.
Image: MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP

Cyril Ramaphosa had a dramatic first day as the ANC leader. This comes after the party's national conference was rocked by disputes over the election of the secretary-
general, which saw Ace Magashule defeating Senzo Mchunu, even though Mchunu had been expected to win the position.

The elections agency of the ANC yesterday conceded it had committed a blunder when it failed to inform the plenary about 68 delegates who registered to vote but failed to do so.

Mchunu's supporters believe that number could have swung the vote in their favour.

The agency admitted the blunder during a meeting with the elective conference steering committee, which is chaired by new national chairman Gwede Mantashe and
also comprises chairpersons of the provinces.

An insider said there were two figures at the centre of the controversy. It is the 68 which appeared in the records of each candidate "as a number of
delegates who failed to vote".

There were also 63 ANC members who were bused to Nasrec, assuming that they were delegates to the conference even though they were not on the credentials report.

"These were people whose branches failed the verification process. Both sets of delegates couldn't have been part of the conference register.

"The 68 chose not to vote and the 63 did not qualify to be part of the conference," the source said.

"This simply means there was no reason to doubt the conference credentials and outcomes of the election," the source added.

The elections commission was scheduled to clarify the matter at a plenary scheduled to start at 6pm last night.

This is where the ANC could invoke its 50/50 gender parity policy, and the 80 members of the NEC would comprise 40 men and 40 women.

Also yesterday, Ramaphosa, flanked by new treasurer-
general Paul Mashatile, did a walkabout at stalls where
vendors were selling ANC merchandise.

He appeared to be in a jovial mood as he exchanged pleasantries with hawkers, saying he was still emotional after his election to lead the ANC.

Not even a single kanga bearing Jacob Zuma's face was being sold yesterday. His face has been replaced by Ramaphosa's.

Meanwhile, voting for the new NEC started last night.

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