By Pinky Khoabane
Presidential Hopefuls Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma & Cyril Ramaphosa
THEY say numbers dont lie, but boy oh boy, have the numbers in the lead up to the 2017 ANC presidential race lied! Depending on which camp you speak to, they are the winners. The only numbers one has been able to rely on are that this is indeed 2017 and that the conference is the ANC 54th Elective Conference and it will be held at Nasrec from 16th to 20th December. Everything else….well….
Numbers are floating all over social media, placing both Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the next ANC president.
Even as official numbers from Provincial General Councils (PGCs) were presented, numbers which contradicted the PGC figures were still being debated and sangomas making their predictions as to what they (the numbers) revealed and who the preferred candidate would be. The PGC is the structure where nominations from branches are consolidated.
It’s fascinating to see how some of the numbers are presented by way of a media release, which would lead one to believe they are authentic – perhaps from Luthuli House, but missing are the ANC letterhead and the contact details of the sender.
Since the release of the PGC results from the Western Cape and Northern Cape, social media analysts have gone into a frenzy with ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu entering the fray to declare “facts” and not “fiction” about the numbers that show that CR17 is leading in the two provinces but also predicting a win in others. Mthembu publicly declared his support for Ramaphosa some months back.
Then tensions between the two factions of CR17 and NDZ went into overdrive last night when results of the so called “surprise” Free State PGC were released and Dlamini-Zuma was chosen as the preferred candidate to lead the ANC.
Members were taken off-guard when it was announced on Monday that the PGC would be taking place the following day when it was initially scheduled for the weekend. Supporters of the Ramaphosa camp questioned how the PGC could proceed when some branches were still to hold a re-run of their branch general meetings (BGMs) to nominate their preferred candidates. Many decided to boycott the PGC.
At the same time that the PGC was being conducted, a court of law was listening to testimony into the legitimacy of the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) under which the PGC was convened. Judgement has just been handed down and you can expect further permutations.
It wasn’t long before these figures were contested by the CR17 camp with many questioning whether they reflected nominations from the branches. Ramaphosa had received 99 and Dlamini-Zuma 134 nominations in contrast to what was coming out of the PGC, they said. And the sangomas came out again to present the stats and what it all meant. Depending on which figures the pundits took, the buzz words were suddenly: “Things are bad for CR17” or “It’s looking good for NDZ” or “CR17 is still in there”.
In between all of that, another debate ensued. Do the delegates at the PGC vote for the preferred candidate or do they simply count the nominations which come from branches, in which case, the 99 and 134 nominations should be the ones which count, the analysts said.
The discrepancy, we were told later, is that the CR-99 and NDZ-134 figures came from the nominations by branches and were released by the electoral agency while the CR-44 and NDZ-209 figures were from the PGC which had allowed delegates to vote.
By the wee morning hours, our social media number-crunchers had decided there was actually nothing confusing about the numbers, suffice to say – depending on which faction the commentator belonged – CR17 and NDZ were still in the driving seat.