Swing in provincial voting numbers strengthens Ramaphosa’s hand

African National Congress (ANC)

CAPE TOWN — Voting at party conferences is about the number of paid-up members in good standing and Mpumalanga is standing taller than anyone thought possible. This emerges from the NEC’s allocation of the proportional numbers of provincial delegates to the ANC’s December elective conference. Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza now supporting the principle of a party-unifying compromise candidate, no longer leads a province whose chief valence was to tip the scales in support of Msholozi’s home-fortress, KwaZulu-Natal. Mpumalanga has muscled up since 2012 when it ranked fifth in numbers of delegates. It is now second only to KwaZulu-Natal, ousting the traditional provincial home of the ANC, the Eastern Cape. KwaZulu-Natal’s delegate numbers have shrunk. It is now 134 delegates ahead of Mpumalanga, under half of its previous lead. It seems Cyril Ramaphosa’s star is rising. Both Eastern Cape party faction leaders have reportedly said he’s their preferred national leader, in spite of heavy campaigning by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s people there. KwaZulu-Natal’s dithering, after the court ruling rendering the Zuma-supporting executive illegal, exposed a national paralysis. Underneath all this is an unending supply of compost (aka as Zuptoid corruption) that will hopefully hasten the growth of new green shoots in the ruling party. (The below story first appeared on Daily Maverick and is republished here with permission.) – Chris Bateman

By Carien du Plessis

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has on Friday sent a letter to provincial secretaries confirming the number of branch delegates from each province to the party’s national conference in December. KwaZulu-Natal remains the biggest province with 870, but its lead over the second province is much smaller than it was in 2012, when it had almost 300 delegates more.

In December, KZN will have only 134 more delegates than the second largest province, Mpumalanga (736), indicating that the conference would not be an automatic walk-over for the candidate with the most support in KwaZulu-Natal as it was in 2012. Growth in delegates from the “Premier League” provinces (North West and Free State) could, however, make up for this drop if they decide to form a voting bloc with KwaZulu-Natal.

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

It was previously thought that Mpumalanga would play the role of tipping the balance of forces either towards KwaZulu-Natal, where the current leadership supports former African Union Commission chairperson and ANC MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become president, or towards the Eastern Cape, where Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has the most support. But figures now show Mpumalanga could be a player in its own right.

Mpumalanga Premier DD Mabuza has previously stood by the “Premier League” which supported Dlamini Zuma, but he has since come out strongly in favour of a third way in support of ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, who has portrayed himself as a “unity candidate”.

Read also: Horwitz: Neither Ramaphosa nor Dlamini-Zuma are fit to govern. Here’s why.

While some say Mpumalanga, the only province to also have grown its ANC electoral support, is united solid behind Mabuza’s leadership, others say State Security Minister David Mahlobo has been doing a lot of canvassing in the province on behalf of Dlamini-Zuma.

Mahlobo is considered to be one of President Jacob Zuma’s loyal confidantes.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s home province of Limpopo, which had the third largest number of delegates in 2012, has fallen to fourth place, with 643 delegates to the conference. Limpopo’s leadership has been in support of Ramaphosa, although at least two regions have elected leadership in support of Dlamini-Zuma.

Cartoonist Jeremy predicts the fall of the ANC in the next national election. More of his magic work available at

North West has also shown massive growth since 2012, more than doubling its number of delegates to 538.

Gauteng, which supports Ramaphosa, comes in just after North West with 508 delegates, while the Free State has been allocated 409 delegates – slightly more than in 2012.

The divided Western Cape is for the first time at the bottom of the list with 182 delegates, following the Ramaphosa-supporting Northern Cape, with 197.

A total of 4723 branch delegates will attend conference, forming 90% of the total. The other 10% – 525 delegates – will be made up of the 86 national executive committee members and top six officials, the provincial executive committees and the leagues, including the ANC Women’s League, the ANC Youth League and the ANC Veterans’ League.

Branch delegates for December 2017:

KwaZulu-Natal: 870

Mpumalanga: 736

Eastern Cape: 648

Limpopo: 643

North West: 538

Gauteng: 508

Free State: 409

Northern Cape: 197

Western Cape: 182

Total branch delegates: 4723 (90% of the total)

Leagues and PECs: an estimated 525

Total delegates: an estimated 5248

Branch delegates at Mangaung conference in 2012:

KwaZulu-Natal: 974

Eastern Cape: 676

Limpopo: 574

Gauteng: 500

Mpumalanga: 467

Free State: 324

North West: 234

Western Cape: 178

Northern Cape: 176

Total with PECs and leagues: 4500

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