Cyril Ramaphosa and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s supporters confident of victory
AFTER a tense and bruising campaign to succeed President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader, supporters of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma say they are confident that their candidates would emerge when delegates elect a new leader on Saturday.
Amid last minute campaigning and attempts to consolidate bases and convince delegates to vote differently from their branch nominations, both the NDZ and CR17 camps said they were confident that delegates would support them.
This came as attention shifted from branches to delegates after the party’s Provincial General Councils (PGC’s) announced their branch nominations countrywide.
Ramaphosa emerged as a front runner after the nominations but political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni warned that the public should not read too much into nominations because the race could still go either way.
“It’s not yet over because you will have a scramble in the last minute to see how those nominations translate into voting.
“The gap might still be widened; it might still be narrowed because it’s one thing to nominate a candidate; it’s another to vote,” Fikeni said.
“Branch nominations is just to say, this person, we are expressing through a ballot paper.
“But It’s also a way of gauging the level of support. But we should be careful when we talk of branches because there are super branches with many people.”
Fikeni emphasised, however, that the results of branch nominations could cause conference to collapse if the outcomes eventually favour candidates that were trailing. Supporters of the candidate who received most nominations might suspect vote rigging, he added.
He added that such branches “obviously” have more representatives going to the 54th national conference which starts at Nasrec, Johannesburg on Saturday.
The conference will elect a new leadership and adopt policies that would determine the country’s trajectory for the next five years.
“Technically, you could be supported by three branches in a region of 10 branches. But if these branches happen to be the biggest branches, they would be equal to the seven numbers if you consider representatives who would be going there.”
However, Fikeni maintained that branch nominations should never be under-estimated because they often sway votes in favour of the front runner.
“It’s very difficult to climb back because the issue of branch nominations create a momentum, it creates expectations, it signals power.”
This came as both the CR17 and NDZ camps put final touches to their campaigns and began their journey to Gauteng this week.
Thembi Siweya, one of the CR17 coordinators, said victory was certain for Ramaphosa because he has overwhelming support from branches countrywide.
“From our own observation, we are ready to go to the conference and bring change.
“Why do we believe in Cyril Ramaphosa?
“Number one, because he is currently the deputy president of the ANC. In terms of tradition, he is the next in line,” Siweya said.
“But also, the CR17 campaign is not only a Cyril Ramaphosa campaign. It’s a South African campaign. Ordinary South Africans are interested in the emergence of Cyril Ramaphosa. In fact, if Cyril emerges, in 2019, door to door [campaign] for us would be very easy.”
Limpopo ANC Youth League ANCYL) secretary David “Che” Selane, a staunch Dlamini-Zuma supporter, said despite her lagging behind in branch nominations, victory was certain because she was supported by big branches with proportionally more delegates.
“We are convinced that we would go to the conference knowing very well that we are all supporting Mama Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
“So, we are still going to lobby other comrades inside plenary to ensure that she emerges as the president of the ANC,” said Selane.
Fikeni added that Dlamini-Zuma had led the race at the beginning of the year, with four ANC provinces and President Zuma himself supporting her. However, the situation changed on the eve of the June Policy Conference when Ramaphosa appeared to be surging.
He said leaked emails exposing Ramaphosa’s sexual scandal, the legislature, alliance partners’ and the media’s vocal stance against State capture helped his campaign.
However, Fikeni said, Ramaphosa still had a headache in his hands regarding the rejection of his proposed deputy Naledi Pandor.
“He still has to deal with the fact that the person he proposed as the deputy president’s candidate doesn’t seem to get the traction from the branches.”
Dlamini-Zuma might still be “furiously” campaigning behind the scenes “to persuade those who have nominated to vote differently”, he added.
Regarding the so-called unity vote in Mpumalanga, Fikeni said it was part of Premier David “DD” Mabuza’s way of hiding divisions in the province and capitalising on its growth and “king-maker status”.
“In that process, and in crafty manner, he places himself as a unity candidate in order to avoid exposing a split within the province in terms of voting for A or B.
“The bargaining process places him at the centre, and now he has a dilemma because the campaign that has put him squarely as the deputy president is the one that has not produced numbers” he added.