By NICO GOUS and NEO GOBA
Newly elected ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa called on delegates yesterday to “protect the integrity” of the ruling party’s 54th national conference and not let it “degenerate into controversy and huge legal suits that will nullify the result” of the election of the party’s top six.
Ramaphosa said this in a video leaked to journalists attending the conference at Nasrec, where he was addressing delegates.
In a further blow to President Jacob Zuma, the national conference also resolved that Zuma should immediately appoint the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture that former public protector Thuli Madonsela instructed him to.
This exerts more pressure on Zuma to appoint the commission following a court ruling last Wednesday that ordered him to appoint the commission within 30 days.
In the leaked video, Ramaphosa said he believed some delegates might be unhappy with the election results‚ but it created a “beachhead to be able to start the process of re-instilling the values of our movement in the ANC and [I am] hoping people will embrace that”.
Ramaphosa was referring to the possible legal action against the party after the uncertainty over the election of new ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
Supporters of Senzo Mchunu‚ an ally of Ramaphosa‚ raised concern that Magashule’s election was irregular. Magashule beat Mchunu by 24 votes in the contest for the position of secretary-general.
Mchunu supporters cited an irregular second count, and then there was the issue of 68 ballots that went missing during the election of the top six leadership positions.
The bulk of the missing votes came from delegates said to be from Mchunu-allied branches‚ increasing speculation that those votes could easily overturn the 24-vote difference that separated the two candidates.
Mchunu’s backers indicated on Tuesday they were considering legal options too. Ramaphosa and Mchunu backers were preparing to raise the issue in the plenary session.
However‚ Magashule and Zuma backers were prepared to fight back.
A formal announcement on the matter is expected at a later stage.
The conference affirmed an earlier decision taken by the ANC national executive committee that Zuma appoint the commission to investigate state capture.
Zuma appears to have lost the battle within the ANC as the national conference resolved that the commission should focus only on Madonsela’s recommendations. Zuma and his supporters in the NEC were pushing for a broad inquiry dating back to 1994.
Madonsela released the report in November last year concerning allegations of an improper relationship between Zuma‚ his son Duduzane‚ several other state officials and the Gupta family.
“On the ANC reputation and integrity dealing with corruption‚ [it was decided that we] implement the national executive committee resolution on state capture, including the expeditious establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry‚” said Fikile Mbalula‚ chairman of the ANC NEC’s subcommittee on organisational renewal. — DDC