Phosa heading to court over Mpumalanga ‘unity’ votes saga
ANC veteran and presidential hopeful Mathews Phosa has set himself on a collision course with Mpumalanga ANC provincial chairperson and ANC elective conference “kingmaker” David “DD” Mabuza.
Phosa has threatened to go to court on Thursday to have the Mpumalanga provincial general council nomination process nullified just 10 days before the ANC is expected to begin the process of electing a new president.
The former Mpumalanga premier‚ speaking through his campaign co-ordinator‚ Ronnie Malomane‚ has claimed that Mabuza manipulated the voting process at the provincial general council that saw presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma being nominated for president by Mpumalanga’s 22 branches.
The nominations from branches included 123 for Dlamini-Zuma while Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa got 117.
“We want to clean the corruption in the ANC as well as in the government so the major reason why we are heading to court is because people were persuaded to nominate ‘unity’ whereas in the forms it was indicated categorically clearly that people had to put their details and they must substantiate [their preferred candidates] first name and second name‚ but it was a different case‚” said Malomane.
He dismissed claims that Phosa was disgruntled which is the main reason why he is heading to court‚ stating that in fact it was Mabuza who was the bitter one.
“Phosa doesn’t hate DD‚ he doesn’t even worry about DD. Phosa is worried about the principles and the policies of the ANC as we the members of the ANC in Mpumalanga are worried [about].
“Early this year‚ we had four RGCs (regional executive general councils) whereby we were electing leadership of the REC (regional executive council) then the man (Mabuza) instructed his dogs that they need not to contest. He [told them] that he wants all those leaders in the region to remain as is. How can you (Mabuza) do that in a democratic country because everybody has a right to contest and to be contested?” he asked.
Malomane claimed that court was their last resort with regards to Phosa’s claim as they exhausted all internal processes of the party. He said Phosa started at his branch then went on to complain at the regional level‚ then to the province and finally to the office of the secretary general led by Gwede Mantashe.
However‚ ANC communications manager Khusela Sangoni said the top structure of the party had not received any complaint from Phosa.
“No he hasn’t‚ the ANC is not aware of any appeal submitted by cadre Mathews Phosa.”
Mpumalanga secretary Mandla Ndlovu encouraged Phosa to head to court‚ but argued that the former premier would not yield any results as there were no grounds for his grievance.
“The electoral commission was consolidating nominations from branches so they were not going to change if a branch did not nominate‚ they were going to indicate that a branch did not nominate. The electoral commission said that they will count branches that nominated ‘unity’ as spoilt‚” said Ndlovu.
Asked what branches meant by ‘unity’‚ Ndlovu said he didn’t know what was meant by the term‚ adding that those branches that nominated ‘unity’ must be the ones that account and not the province.
Minutes into the interview‚ Ndlovu then explained that according to his understanding‚ the term ‘unity’ meant there’s still room for engagement for additional members to be added onto the current top six ANC positions.
He urged the branches to lobby other delegates from Mpumalanga and other provinces to push for the amendment of the ANC’s constitution to create positions for two deputy presidents and a second deputy secretary-general.
This follows President Jacob Zuma’s plea during his closing address at the party’s national policy conference held in June that the losing candidate in the race to become the next leader should automatically become one of two deputy presidents.
The outgoing ANC leader who has been at the helm of the party since 2007 and whose term comes to an end in less than two weeks‚ has openly thrown his weight behind his ex-wife and the former AU Commission chairperson‚ Dlamini-Zuma‚ to lead the ANC.
As things stand‚ the presidential race is widely seen as a two-horse race between Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa.
Phosa is one of five other presidential hopefuls seeking to replace Zuma.
Others include Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize‚ party chairperson and Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete and national executive members Lindiwe Sisulu and Jeff Radebe.
Political analyst Ebrahim Fakir echoed Ndlovu’s sentiments and said Phosa was heading for a defeat in court‚
“There’s two problems. What on the PGC is he contesting: Is he contesting that the PGC is improper because the branches or improperly constituted or is it just about the PEC (provincial executive committee) in the way in which it constituted the PGC?” asked Fakir.
“This will mean that the twenty votes that have gone to the PEC will be nullified and the branch nominations will still stand so his argument [in court] will not fly because that’s just a spoilt ballot. I can’t imagine how this would have an impact on the conference unless his heads [of argument] are different. Until we see what the basis of the arguments are‚ it is impossible to tell‚” added Fakir.
Mpumalanga has emerged as a kingmaker ahead of the elective conference‚ due to take place from December 16-20 at Nasrec Expo Centre in Soweto.
On Monday‚ Mantashe said all these court cases were coming up simply because people want to manipulate the voting system at the ANC’s elective conference and therefore were using courts as a tool to fight internal party matters.