Former African Union chairperson and ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s bid to take over the party’s leadership reigns has been given a major thrust forward by a major voting block.
This after the ANC in the Free State yesterday became the first province to officially nominate her as its preferred presidential candidate.
During the Free State Provincial General Council (PGC) held in Parys, Dlamini Zuma secured the overwhelming majority of nominations ahead of her closest rival Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, netting 209 nominations to his 44.
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The PGC is now expected to consolidate the nominations from branches before they are handed to ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe’s office.
Alongside Dlamini-Zuma, the Free State has nominated Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza for deputy president.
Mabuza beat out Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu with 204 nominations against her 28.
Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa was nominated for the national chairperson post with 163 votes, Free State Premier Ace Magashule was nominated for the secretary-general post with 216 votes against former KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu, who received 57.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane was nominated for the treasurer-general post, receiving 163 votes.
ANC Free State spokesperson Thabo Meeko said the PGC ran smoothly and reflected the will of branches across the province.
“The process of the PGC is the task of the ANC election agency and is primarily the consolidation of the nomination of candidates for leadership from the branches. It is not a meeting where branches were coming to discuss, add or subtract in terms of the branch nominations but only to consolidate the provincial position,” Meeko said.
Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe said he believed the results of the PGC would also be a boost for the enigmatic Mabuza’s nomination as deputy president.
“Ramaphosa had already indicated who he prefers to be his deputy. He made it very clear that he wanted Naledi Pandor to deputise him and effectively in doing so, he was sending a message about who he does not want,” Seepe said.
“So, those provinces that are going to embrace Mabuza are sending a message to other delegates to say, if you’re going to support Nkosazana, there is a deputy that is in existence in Mabuza.”
Last month, the Western Cape ANC Youth League, following a special meeting of its provincial executive committee (PEC), nominated Dlamini Zuma and Mabuza as its preferred candidates.
The league said in a statement that while Dlamini Zuma and Mabuza topped the list as ANC president and deputy president respectively, it would continue to lobby ANC branches in favour of these and other nominated names.
A total of 4,723 voting delegates are expected to vote in December during the elective conference to be held in Nasrec, Johannesburg.