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Johannesburg - The ANC denied on Wednesday that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa swung the North West nomination outcome in President Jacob Zuma's favour and ordered police to shoot rubber bullets at anti-Zuma supporters.
It would not have been possible for Mthethwa, an African National Congress national executive committee member, to do so, the ANC said in response to a report in The Star newspaper.
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu said “there is no way” this could have happened.
“The only people who have the power in the election is the electoral commission. Nathi (Mthethwa) has no power,” said Mthembu.
The Star newspaper reported that Mthethwa had hijacked the North West conference and replaced Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's supporters with bogus delegates.
It also reported that he ordered the police to shoot rubber bullets at anti-Zuma delegates.
The North West police have confirmed that stun grenades were used to disperse a group of people who tried to gain entry to the conference, but could not say whether they were Motlanthe supporters.
Mthembu said North West secretary Kabelo Mataboge had signed off on a list of delegates to the provincial general council in Rustenburg.
“There is no way that Mthethwa could have substituted these delegates.”
Mthembu said the ANC had not received a complaint from North West about the alleged rigged vote.
“We do not have a complaint. The complaint is with the media. We only heard this through you guys,” he said.
A group of about 130 disgruntled North West delegates told The Star they spoke to Mthembu at Luthuli House, in Johannesburg, on Wednesday.
Mthembu said delegates at the conference, like any other ANC conference, were verified by the electoral commission.
He said that to vote, delegates needed to produce their identity document, driver's licence or ANC membership card.
He said Mataboge and another provincial executive committee (PEC) member China Dodovu did not vote because they did not have identity documents.
ANC Youth League chairman in North West Papiki Baboile has insisted that the votes were rigged.
“The majority of delegates, 80 percent of them, were not elected by branches. Some of us were denied access,” he said.
He said the audit reports had many mistakes, for instance some branches had increased membership without explanation. Some branches failed their audits because membership forms were missing, but others in the same position passed.
While the conference was underway, the regional and provincial secretaries were asked to resolve the apparent discrepancies, said Baboile.
Together with Mthethwa, the regional secretaries drew up a list of delegates they deemed fit to vote.
“We asked the leadership to resolve this.
“Regional secretaries, with the guidance of Nathi Mthethwa, developed a list of delegates instead of resolving the problem. People were hand-picked to vote,” he said.
Mthethwa's spokesman Zweli Mnisi said the allegation that he ordered the police to shoot rubber bullets was false.
“In his capacity as the minister of police, he does not give operational instruction to police on when, where and to whom must they mount such operation.”
He said the conference was an internal ANC event and any internal ANC matters were dealt with through internal party processes.
“If any member of the ANC has any complaint that they need to lodge, whether it relates to alleged irregularities on the conference programme, security, logistics or nomination of candidates, they can follow such internal processes.”
He said the minister did not deal with internal ANC matters through the media.
North West police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said police used stun grenades to disperse a crowd which wanted to gain entry to the conference by force.
“They used stun grenades and no injuries were reported.”
The North West ANC nominated Zuma for re-election as the party leader at the Mangaung conference. Their results came in on Monday morning, three days after the deadline for nominations closed. - Sapa