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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist

ANC nominations: ‘Too soon to celebrate as top 6 may be decided in plenary sessions’

ANC branch nomination results showed Ramaphosa's total tally reaching a staggering 2 037 against Mkhize's 916.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is on a roll after blitzing his political opponents in the nominations for ANC president … and the only way his campaign juggernaut could be derailed at next month’s conference is if there is intense lobbying and votes from the floor during the plenary sessions, says a political analyst.

Ramaphosa’s only rival for the top position in the ANC – and therefore also president of the country – is Dr Zweli Mkhize, although the party revealed yesterday that Ramaphosa had garnered more than twice the number of nominations than the former health minister.

ANC branch nomination results showed Ramaphosa’s total tally reaching a staggering 2 037 against Mkhize’s 916.

Known Ramaphosa critics, Cabinet ministers Lindiwe Sisulu and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who have openly campaigned against the incumbent president, were yesterday conspicuously not mentioned by ANC electoral committee chair Kgalema Motlanthe, during a briefing at Luthuli House party headquarters.

It won’t be smooth sailing

But University of Mpumalanga public policy senior lecturer John Molepo cautioned that “while the ANC nomination process outcome augurs well for President Ramaphosa”, it was not time to celebrate yet.

Molepo said: “What this nominations outcome tells us is that the conference leadership result will be decided in the plenary, with no easy victory for any slate.

“As much as Ramaphosa might have an upper hand, it won’t be smooth sailing.

“If I were him, I would – as a plan B – instruct my lobbyist to look for a strategic ally.”

Ramaphosa camp members also came out on top in the other nominations.

Ramahosa adversary, Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Phumulo Masualle received 889 nominations against Ramaphosa supporter Mdumiseni Ntuli, who received 1 225 for the position of secretary-general – the most strategic ANC leadership position. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula got 749 nominations.

ALSO READ: ANC elective conference: Ramaphosa leads the pack, as nominations for top 6 are revealed

With a solid lead of 1 791 nominations against Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola’s 427 and Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s 397, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile has quietly made inroads towards winning the party’s second-most powerful position, deputy president.

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe made a poor showing with 979 nominations against Stan Mathabatha’s 1 492 for national chair, which has raised questions about his political future in the ANC. He is expected to be confined to the list of additional national executive committee members.

In other nomination results:

  • Nomvula Mokonyane received 1 779 nominations against Febe Potgieter’s 905 for deputy secretary-general.
  • Bejani Chauke mastered 552 against Pule Mabe’s 428 and Mzwandile Masina’s 348 – in a close race for treasurer-general.

Ramaphosa attackers ‘lack leadership quality’

Policy analyst and human rights activist Dr Nkosikhulule Nyembezi said the trend in the ANC nomination results showed a lack of credibility and quality leadership by Ramaphosa detractors, with women proving to be unable to move up the political ladder.

Nyembezi said the majority of the prominent leadership contenders, were “primarily known to be pro-Jacob Zuma supporters”.

He said: “After all, most of Ramaphosa’s attackers often gather outside criminal courts and will continue so after this conference.”

He said: “Those opportunistic ministers and bag carriers criticising Ramaphosa’s leadership in the name of integrity and unity have displayed only their lack of leadership quality.

“Almost every other story of his success so far got lost in the noise to wrestle him down.

“Instead of capitalising on extra time handed in the previous general elections, many contestants have spent the past few weeks and months not governing or steering the nation to prosperity [but] plotting the right time to depose their leader.

ALSO READ: ANC presidential battle: Numbers against Mkhize, even if Ramaphosa doesn’t make it

“The prospect of ending an era of corrupt individuals, clinging to party political power, calls for celebration.

“Their slogans for radical economic transformation have only served as the backdrop to their squalid careerism. It is no secret all these self-serving leaders have depreciated the party’s value.”

Nyembezi said the party’s electoral currency was “once pure gold and is now the most debased metal in our fledgling democracy”.

– brians@citizen.co.za