19 December 2012

South Africa: Voting for NEC Starts At Mangaung

Photo: Moeketsi Mogotsi/WhatsUpANC
Supporters of the president of the ruling party, Jacob Zuma.

Bloemfontein — ANC delegates queued on Wednesday morning to vote for the rest of its national executive committee (NEC) members at the party's elective conference being held in Mangaung.

They chatted to each other while standing in the morning sun.

Some whiled away time by reading newspapers.

Delegates filing into the university grounds, where the conference was being held, were visibly quieter for the second last day of the gathering.

The area in front of the main gate had been a scene of celebration and partying ahead of the election of the party's "top six" leadership positions on Tuesday.

The sidewalks at the entrance were still taken up by vendors selling ANC branded products, but trade had drastically declined.

On Wednesday, 295 nominees were up for a place in the party's powerful decision making structure.

Only 80 will make it through.

Delegates nominated their preferred candidates for the NEC on Tuesday evening.

Amongst those were former police commissioner Bheki Cele, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, a former presidency official Frank Chikane, and AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

A string of Cabinet members were also on the list.

Tuesday's proceedings culminated in President Jacob Zuma securing a second term as African National Congress leader alongside a new deputy, billionaire Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zuma's challenger Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe not only lost the race for party presidency, but he also declared himself unavailable for the NEC.

It was rumoured Motlanthe would soon depart as the country's deputy president, but his spokesman, Thabo Masebe, said he was unaware of this.

Others who declined nomination include presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, Northern Cape ANC chairman John Block, and struggle stalwart Jay Naidoo.

Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, National Union of Metalworkers of SA general secretary Irvin Jim and National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni did not accept nomination either.

Free State ANC chairman Ace Magashule withdrew his nomination at the last minute.

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