21 November 2017

South Africa: Final Push for ANC Branches to Nominate Leaders As Some Miss Deadline

At least four provinces have not completed the crucial branch general meetings (BGMs) to nominate leaders ahead of the fiercely contested ANC elective conference in December.

Mpumalanga said it would approach the party's Luthuli House headquarters to appeal for another week's extension, while the Western Cape said it would give branches with legitimate reasons more time to hold the meetings before the provincial general council (PGC) meeting.

The Eastern Cape said that, while it wanted all of its branches to be represented at the conference, it had only managed to meet the 70% threshold required.

In the Free State, the process is being frustrated by legal challenges.

No extensions - Mantashe

The branches were given until Sunday to hold meetings, with secretary general Gwede Mantashe warning that there would not be any extensions.

Mpumalanga secretary Mandla Ndlovu said on Monday: "We have not completed our BGM's yet. We still have a few branches that failed to reach the threshold and we are hoping to appeal to the national office for one more week."

The nomination process has been marred by meetings failing to reach a quorum, with supporters of the different presidential hopefuls accusing each other of manipulating the process to favour their preferred candidates.

Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs said there were at least 40 branches that still had to hold meetings in his province.

"We are not punitive in the ANC. If there is a branch who couldn't hold their BGM this weekend due to a venue issue, for instance, and they decide to hold it today or tomorrow, we will sign off on that," Jacobs said.

'We do expect much deliberation'

Mpumalanga, which has the second highest number of delegates, said it wanted to take as many branches as possible to the national conference.

It said it was dealing with about 40 disputes, while Western Cape said 15 disputes had been lodged.

Eastern Cape secretary Lulama Ngcukaitobi said: "The task team that was deployed by the NEC (national executive committee) is overseeing 23 disputes. Comparatively speaking this is minor, due to our thorough engagement with branches."

The ANC has dispatched members to the various provinces to deal with disputes and decide if reruns are necessary in those branches.

They are now racing against time to resolve the disputes, as provinces gear up for their provincial general councils to nominate leaders.

A candidate has to be nominated by a province to make it onto the ballot, or face the harder task of being nominated from the floor by 25% of voting delegates at the conference.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was officially nominated by the Northern Cape, which has the second smallest number of delegates. Its PGC, held on Saturday, saw 154 branches nominate Ramaphosa, while former African Union commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was only supported by 11, News24 sister publication City Press reported.

Ngcukaitobi said majority of the Eastern Cape branches had also nominated Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma, but as many as five people had been nominated for deputy president by the branches.

"There are many who support [ANC treasurer general] Zweli Mkhize for deputy president, as well as [NEC member] Naledi Pandor and [ANC Mpumalanga chair] (David) DD Mabuza.

"However, there were also a few branches that have shown support for [NEC members] Angie Motshekga and Lindiwe Sisulu. We do expect much deliberation and persuasion until the end," he said.

'Even now, we are going to court'

The Free State ANC, which has to juggle preparations for its own upcoming provincial congress and that of the national conference, is also still busy with the nomination process.

Spokesperson Thabo Meeko said the province was also not done with its BGMs, with the appeals committee in the province asking for some to be reconvened.

"It's not easy to estimate how many more still need to go. But last week, around 80% had concluded their BGMs," Meeko told News24.

He said it was also hard to count the number of disputes that had been filed, explaining that some were filed with the party's national office, while others were sent to the provincial executive committee.

"Even now, we are going to court over BGMs," Meeko said.

The Free State ANC is being dragged to court for the third time in just a few months.

"There are people who lost at the BGMs and their intention is not to allow the Free State to go to the national conference or to hold its provincial conference," said Meeko.

"But we are proceeding ahead. Preparations are at an advanced stage."

Meeko said the province wanted to take all its branches to the December conference, but that it kept being dragged to court.

He explained that some had questioned proceedings of all BGM processes in the province. "It can't be," a frustrated Meeko said.

"The ANC cannot be taken to court because people lost in democratic processes."

Source: News24

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