Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is poised to take over as the new leader of the ruling party after receiving endorsements from an overwhelming number of ANC branches for the December 16th conference scheduled to hold at Nasrec expo centre in Johannesburg.
A look at the nomination tally shows that he was nominated to succeed scandal-hit President Jacob Zuma as the leader of the ruling party by 1,860 ANC branches, while 1,330 backed his main rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Obviously, this edge means he has taken the lead in the race, although ANC nominations don’t conclusively show who will win an election.
It’s common knowledge that branch nomination numbers are the best available indicator of who’s likely to win, but they are not utmostly decisive because there are no guarantee delegates will adhere to voting instructions and some bigger branches can have more than one delegate.
As gathered, branches will account for 90 percent of the 5,240 voting delegates at the upcoming elective conference while the rest will come from the party’s leadership structures and youth, women and veterans leagues.
Ramaphosa’s victory came from ANC structures in Limpopo, Gauteng, the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape, while KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and North West, and a small majority in Mpumalanga all backed former AU chairperson Dr. Dlamini-Zuma.
Despite Ramaphosa taking the lead the election, his toughest challenge is that ANC’s two biggest regions – KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga – are supporting Dlamini-Zuma. These two provinces would be sending the most delegates to the conference, making it unclear if Cyril will win at last.
Bigger branches have more votes, making it unclear whether Mr Rampahosa will retain his lead.
At the election, the ANC’s three leagues (ANCYL, ANCWL and veterans league) are expected to have 60 votes each. While Ramaphosa is most likely to be endorsed by the veterans league, President Zuma’s ex-wife is sure to be endorsed by the youth and women’s leagues.
Some political analysts in the country have spoken out against the way some provinces are going about the December election. These analysts condemn, especially, the killings of some delegates, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, where two delegates were assassinated last month.
Apart from the deaths, the nomination of presidential candidates has caused deep rifts within the 105-year-old ANC and has impacted on the rand and some investors seeking political and policy clarity.
The winner at the elective conference will lead the ruling party’s campaign in the 2019 election when President Jacob Zuma’s 10-year rule will come to an end.