Baleka Mbete endorses Ramaphosa for ANC president
It is understood that the deep divisions in the party forced party leaders to abandon the process to allow for different factions to caucus with the hope of coming to an agreement.
Baleka Mbete. Picture: Henk Kruger / ANA PHOTO
Mbete has endorsed deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to take over as party president when Jacob Zuma steps down.
She said delegates needed to look beyond the party congress and choose a leader that would steer the ANC to victory at the 2019 general elections.
Ramaphosa and former African Union Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are contesting the presidency of the ANC.
And despite the Dlamini-Zuma being dealt a blow when courts nullified the election of the powerful KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provincial executive committees, the conference is still too close to call as both factions believe elections will go down to the wire.
The process was expected to continue until the early hours of Sunday morning, but leaders agreed to call it a night when it became clear that no resolution regarding the adoption of credentials was in sight.
The adjournment could push the conference – which was delayed by over seven hours – by an extra day given that the credentials’ adoption process is known to take hours.
The disputes were anticipated given as delegates are leaving nothing to chance in their quest to secure victory for their preferred candidates.
ANC members spent hours verifying credentials of delegates from party branches, a process that has seen ANC conferences turn to violence in the past, especially when leadership positions are being contested.
ANC staff and leaders were unable to confirm when credentials would be adopted in order for the conference to nominate leaders and appoint new leaders.
Despite the heavily contested credentials process, ANC leaders believe that they should be able to nominate and elect their leaders by tomorrow (Sunday).
“These are delay tactics that are to be expected when there is contestation,” said an NEC member on the side-lines of the conference.
Speaking shortly after the adjournment, ANC chairperson and speaker of parliament, Baleka Mbete, said it was necessary to give conference more time to work on credentials in order to get the nomination process and voting underway.
“I think they are still cleaning up credentials and the reason to adjourn is to give more time for that process,” she said.