While celebrations were still going on over the birth of new ANC top officials with “the new Mandela” in the person of Cyril Ramaphosa as the President, a part of the country stayed at war over the 68 delegates’ missing votes.
As a result, the election of the new ANC top six leadership structure stood the risk of being challenged as a larger number of the delegates called for a total recount of the votes counted
This, according to them, would provide good answers to the whereabouts of the missing 68 unaccounted votes and irregularities in the tallying of votes.
The total number of approved voting delegates that attended the elective conference at Nasrec in Johannesburg was 4,776 but the EleXion Agency that actually conducted the voting process confirmed that only 4,708 delegates voted – a difference of 68 votes.
The supposed “missing” votes in the ANC’s leadership elections started after the affected delegates who were valid representatives of their branches couldn’t see their names on the voters’ register. However, the delegates were permitted to vote on the condition that their votes would count only if ANC Steering Committee deemed them valid.
According to the Electoral Commision, the votes were sealed and set aside and were not added to the number that was announced.
They referred the matter to the steering committee and agreed to add the votes once a decision was taken.
Talks between the ANC steering committee appeared to have been underway to resolve the votes that were not included in the final tally for the top six leadership elections at the time the results were announced. This was the beginning of the ANC missing vote saga that has dragged on.
Reactions Of The Candidates, Delegates, and ANC
This issue triggered Mchunu’s supporters and some disgruntled ANC members who called out for an accountability on the missing votes and for the internal election body to do a recount.
Reacting to this, the Ramaphosa camp took it as a best opportunity to question the election of Secretary-General Ace Magashule at ANC’s 54th National conference on Monday. Magashule defeated KwaZulu-Natal Chairman Senzo Mchunu, who is on Ramaphosa’s slate, by a thin margin of 24 votes.
Delegates and many others also called for the EleXions Agency to account for the missing votes. The Agency could recount all votes including that of ANC President, Deputy President, Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, National Chairperson and Treasurer-General or call for a new voting process.
The ANC North West Chairperson Supra Mahumapelo also threatened a rerun of the election of the entire ANC top six if Senzo Mchunu’s supporters insist on a recount of the election results for the Secretary-General position.
Furthering, Mahumapelo said there are certain things the delegates would have to accept to live within the ANC, even if they were not happy or comfortable with such positions. Mahumapel added that the North West Province was surprised that delegates were raising complaints about the voting result.
According to him, the delegates were allowed to complain but they were under compulsion to follow the process.
“They must know the risk they are getting the ANC into. You can’t call for recounting of one position as you don’t know who voted how, as it was by secret ballot. It means that the recounting must be for entire officials in the top six”, said Mahumapelo.
Mahumapelo described the negotiations with the steering committee as the right thing to do to resolve the matter politically and it must end there.
The Final Outcome Of The Missing Votes
After much debate and disagreements, the votes were recounted. However, during the recount, the electoral body was forced to discredit majority of the delegates’ votes while Mchunu was awarded only just 15 votes (out of the 68 votes).
Despite this, ACE Magashule was able to retain his position by nine votes. Before the recount, Magashule secured 2360 votes while Mchunu received 2363.
This was below many voters’ expectations who thought the inclusion of the vote could affect some already announced winners like Free State Premier Ace Magashule whom may be stripped of his Secretary-General position.
Following this development, the ANC disgruntled delegates from the Vhembe district in Limpopo and the Abaqulusi district in KwaZulu-Natal took legal actions against the missing votes. The legal action was however stopped earlier this year (2018) and said to probably go on in future.